A wife in london

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A wife in london

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

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