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A wife in london
 

A wife in london

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    A wife in london A wife in london Presentation Transcript

    • A Wife In London
      Thomas Hardy
      1899
    • A wife waiting in London for news about her husband who has been fighting in the Boer War in South Africa.
      Symbolic fog, swirls round the London streets.
      Fog is ominous & can cover things up, much like communications in war.
      She receives a message to tell her that her husband has died.
    • In her shock she finds it hard to process the information.
      Ironically & tragically the next day she receives a letter that her husband sent to her before he died.
      In it he speaks of his excitement at coming home to her & the happy times they will have.
      An unpleasant coincidence (of which Hardy was interested)
    • Written in his ‘naturalist style’. Describing events quite visually & symbolically & allows reader’s imagination to fill in the rest.
      Mainly known for his novels set in the English countryside, but he described poetry as his ‘first love’.
      Written unusually from the pov of a wife waiting rather than a participant or observer of the battlefield.
    • I--The Tragedy
      She sits in the tawny vapour   
       That the Thames lanes have uprolled,  
        Behind whose webby fold on fold
      Like a waning taper   
       The street-lamp glimmers cold.
    • A messenger's knock cracks smartly,  
        Flashed news is in her hand  
        Of meaning it dazes to understand
      Though shaped so shortly:  
        He--has fallen--in the far South Land . .
    • II The Irony
      'Tis the morrow; the fog hangs thicker,   
       The postman nears and goes:   
       A letter is brought whose lines disclose
      By the firelight flicker   
       His hand, whom the worm now knows:
    • Fresh--firm--penned in highest feather -  
        Page-full of his hoped return,  
        And of home-planned jaunts by brake and burn In the summer weather,
         And of new love that they would learn
    • I--The Tragedy
      She sits in the tawny vapour   
       That the Thames lanes have uprolled,  
        Behind whose webby fold on fold
      Like a waning taper   
       The street-lamp glimmers cold.
      Mist & fog, sinister, can connote foreboding.
      Brown, dull, foggy London. In stark contrast to place of husband’s death
      Mist rolling up streets. Poor, houses all very close together.
      Symbolic
      Spider’s web imagery. Evokes poverty & sense of entrapment & anxiety As a widow she will be further trapped.
      A thin candle often used to light lamps/fires. Waning-going out
      Perhaps the ‘light of her life’ is about to go out? All her hopes for the future?
      Street lamps lit by gas, would gradually burn out during the night-early morning. Contrast in heat & light/life & death.
    • A messenger's knock cracks smartly,  
        Flashed news is in her hand  
        Of meaning it dazes to understand
      Though shaped so shortly:  
        He--has fallen--in the far South Land . .
      Why the word ‘crack’? A sharp, breaking noise, splits silence- cracks her life too
      Onomatopoeia of ‘knock’,
      Speedy & difficult to take in
      Smart- uniform-army. Bad news often sent by telegram
      Dashes show how she reads it
      She can’t take in bad news, line structure is awkward too, reading it is difficult scan.
      The message is short & to the point, in italics, even so her head is spinning & she can’t quite take it in.
      Uses a ‘euphemism’, fallen rather than died. Why try & divert the horror of the reality? Does it lessen the effect of the message?
    • II The Irony
      'Tis the morrow; the fog hangs thicker,   
       The postman nears and goes:   
       A letter is brought whose lines disclose
      By the firelight flicker   
       His hand, whom the worm now knows:
      Ironically, after his death she receives a letter from him. Lines of communication in war are often unreliable
      Depressing, gloomy, isolated in her grief
      Coming & going, normality of postman’s round=normality of casualties & bereavement in war.
      A twist of fate: Hardy interested in this.
      Homely image of fireside, usually comforting & warming. Now very visual imagery highlighting his words on the page.
      Adds pathos, the imagery makes it easier for the reader to empathise with the wife. If we can picture something, we may feel a deeper connection & understanding
      His handwriting, irony, it may have given her fresh hope
      Buried in the soil, worms part of the decomposition process.
    • Fresh--firm--penned in highest feather -  
        Page-full of his hoped return,  
        And of home-planned jaunts by brake and burn In the summer weather,
         And of new love that they would learn
      Full of flourish, life & enthusiasm. Alliteration enhances frivolous feeling
      Reinforces waste of life that war can bring about
      Irony, he is no longer fresh & firm now he is dead. Their hopes & dreams dead too
      How excited he was to be returning
      Full of ideas of what they would do on his return. Simple pleasures
      Promises of new love they would find. Their love all the stronger for his absence and return
      Hardy leaves it here, more powerful than describing the Wife’s grief. Often readers imagination can be more powerful than a description.