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Thomas Hardy - What Hardy's Poetry Means To Me Sample Answer

“What Thomas Hardy’s poetry means to me.”  Write an essay in response to the above title.  Your essay should include a discussion of his themes and the way he expresses them. Support the points you make by reference to the poetry on your course. (2006)

Thomas Hardy’s poetry, I believe, invokes a largely emotional response. It is also educational and contextualises the time in which he was writing. Hardy’s life in England in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s is explored through his poetry . It is widely known that Hardy was a succesful novelist as well at this time. His expression of ideas through imagery and language is strong and resonates with the reader.

In ‘Drumer Hodge’ Hardy explores themes of loss and honour. His appreciations those lost in the war saddens him as he feels they may not be remembered. Drummer Hodge, the charcater in this poem, is buried ‘uncoffined’. This is a chilling and almost barbaric image and outlines the devastation war can bring. The image Hardy is mainly depicting in this poem is that Hodge is just another, insignificant, Drummer lost in the war. As the poem moves on to broader scenes, so does the general theme. Hardy explains that where they ‘throw’ Hodge’s body it now grows under ‘some Southern tree’. He finalises his poem with a wonderful image of where ‘strage-eyed constellations reign’ and how Hodges’ stars are now eternal. I found this poem particularly resonated with me as it begins with such a harrowing image and ends on one that is so pleasant and un-earthly.

‘The Self Unseeing’ is a poem which depicts the theme of childhood. In many texts, this theme concerns itself with loss of innocence and often a fragmentation of self through growing into maturity. Hardy uses a smiliar structure to ‘Drummer Hodge’ here, like the former poem he begins with morose and intimidating images of death. The final line of the first stanza, ‘Where the dead feet walk in’ gives the reader a chilling sense of the dead come to life, or the presence of gh...

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