Wednesday, October 9, 2019

In his poetry Hardy shows more sympathy for the natural world than he does for people Essay

In his poetry Hardy shows more sympathy for the natural world than he does for people. How far do you agree with this view? You may wish to use ‘The Blinded Bird’ as a starting point for your answers. In your answer you should either refer to 2 or 3 poems or range more widely though the selection. Throughout Hardy’s poetry it is clear that he tends to show a lot more sympathy for the natural world than he does for people shown through key poems such as ‘The Blinded Bird’ , ‘The Darkling Thrush’ and ‘The Puzzled Game-Birds’. These three poems all use nature and animals to explore feelings and Hardy tends to be more sympathetic towards the natural surroundings, in these poems he specifically references birds. He also shows his sympathy for the natural world by showing the animals in a more positive light than he does people; as shown through the poem ‘The Puzzled Game-Birds’. When looking at Hardy’s poem ‘The Puzzled Game-Birds’ I can make the judgement that I do agree fully with the view that Hardy does show more sympathy through his poems, especially this one, for the natural world than he does for people. Through this poem Hardy uses nature to portray his thoughts on cruelty since he shows how the birds are puzzled and confused ‘They are not those who used to feed us’ and the repetition of this line shows the birds denial of not wanting to believe that the people could perform such evil actions. The line ‘If hearts can house such treachery’ is an example of human betrayal from the bird’s perspective because the humans were benevolent, they provided and cared for the birds, then they contradicted themselves and betrayed the birds trust by depriving them. Hardy dehumanises the people through the line ‘They are not those who used to feed us’ because he takes away the individuality of the person by grouping all humans together. By taking away the individuality of the human, Hardy forces us to sympathise with the birds since the poem focuses more on the hardships and cruelty that they are suffering. The poem ‘The Blinded Bird’ again supports a view that I agree with that Hardy expresses more sympathy for the natural world than he does for people. He does this throughout this poem by conveying the opinion of how humanity is evil and a cruel, the rhetorical questions and strong caesura placement at the end of the poem ‘Who is divine? This bird. ’ affirms this. Hardy shows sympathy with the bird in this poem by showing the birds passion through the repetition of the line ‘So zestfully canst thou sing? ’ and his own confusion of how the bird can be so happy when the bird is blind through the line ‘I stand and wonder how’. The poem references God in the second stanza by the repetition of the line ‘Resenting not such wrong, thy grievous pain forgot’ which insinuates that the bird is not resentful towards God for the fact that he is blind; he just loves his life and carries on with it as normal, ignoring the fact that he is blind. This poem clearly shows a lot of sympathy since it demonstrates how a bird that has one of its main senses taken away from him can still lead a happy life and sing so passionately ‘Who suffereth long and is kind†¦who thinketh no evil, but sings?†¦ This bird. ’ Very similar to ‘The Blinded Bird’ the poem the ‘The Darkling Thrush’ again shows Hardy’s more sympathetic approach to the natural world than his approach to humans. The first stanza opens with a description of the dreary, bleak winter landscape, but the downhearted tone is transformed by the bright, optimistic singing, ‘full-hearted evensong’, of an ‘aged thrush’ who was ‘frail, gaunt, and small’. In the first stanza the phrase ‘broken lyres’ is used, which could be seen as a simile which expresses broken faith showing a negative outlook on the century. In the last stanza Hardy includes a description of a ‘caroling’ bird which Hardy could have used to suggest hope and the continuity of life. The speaker concludes in the last stanza that the small bird possesses ‘some blessed Hope, whereof he knew and I was unaware’. I believe Hardy to use this bird to portray the view that nature holds a secret and the potential for happiness that man cannot always intellectually grasp, but perhaps can emotionally appreciate. The rhyme scheme is broken when the thrush enters singing melodically in the penultimate stanza. However, the scheme seems to return in the final stanza which illustrates Hardy’s pessimistic nature returning. For example he refers to hope as ‘blessed’ which shows he does value it, but simply cannot channel it like the thrush is able to. Alliteration is used in the lines ‘Century’s corpse’ and ‘growing gloom’ to demonstrate the inescapability of time and these phrases demonstrate Hardy’s pessimistic thoughts and mind-set. ‘The Darkling Thrush’ portrays a parallel between Hardy’s feelings and emotions with nature by how the thrush emits ‘joy illimited’ which is a profound contrast to Hardy’s pessimism. From the poem we can draw the conclusion that as shown in stanza 3, Hardy’s tone seems in awe of the thrush and is impressed by the bird’s unexpected happiness. This can be linked to ‘The Blinded Bird’, where again in the poem the bird possesses an unexplainable happiness and was not discouraged in the slightest to live life to the max even though it had lost its sight. In all I entirely agree with the view that Hardy does tend to sympathise more with the natural world than he does with humans. I agree with the view due to the fact that the poems that I have looked at all seem to favour nature and portray the animals as being overlooked and disregarded by the humans who were portrayed as immoral and inferior and in the case of ‘The Puzzled Game-Birds’ malicious and violent. I also think he is inclined to sympathise with the natural world more because he views his surroundings as a natural beauty that is not noticed and appreciated enough by the human race.

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