Example research essay topic: Strong Analysis Of The Elements Of Thomas Hardy’s Poetry – 1,264 words

As the title has already mentioned, this
assignment will be an analysis on a poem by Thomas
Hardy. The poem is called The Darkling Thrush,
also known by another title, By the Centurys
deathbed. My analysis will include elements such
as the poems setting, structure, imagery, diction,
rhyme scheme and theme. I will go into one element
at the time, and them give examples from one
stanza only in that element. I will not come back
to the same elements in the other stanzas, even
though they are there. Therefore, this will not be
a complete analysis of every element in each of
the stanzas.

Id rather prefer to give a thorough
description of what the different elements are and
then give a few examples of each of them. In then
end I will try to come up with a conclusion.
Setting: The poem takes place on New Years Eve,
the last day of the 19th century. Its also the end
of the Victorian Age. Winter is bringing death and
desolation with it. A tired old man leans over a
coppice gate in a desolate area, seeing ghosts of
the past and little hope in the future. Structure:
This poem has 4 stanzas, each with 8 lines.

This
is what we call an octave. The lines changes
between having 4 and 3 stressed syllables in them,
which is called tetrameter (4) and trimeter (3).
Since the lines also follow a form of having one
unstressed syllable followed by one stressed
syllable etc, we also call it iambic. As an
example I use the poems 1st stanza. Line number 1,
3, 5 and 7 each have 4 stressed syllables,
therefore called iambic tetrameter ( / – / – / – /
– ). Line number 2, 4, 6, and 8 each have 3
stressed syllables, therefore called iambic
trimeter ( / – / – / – ) I leant upon a coppice
gate 1 Where Frost was spectre-gray, 2 And Winters
dregs made desolate 3 The weakening eye of day. 4
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky 5 Like
strings of broken lyres, 6 And all mankind that
haunted nigh 7 Had sought their household fires.

8
Imagery: Through the use of personification,
symbols, metaphors, alliteration (this last
element may also refer to the poems structure) and
a selected sort of words, he produces images in
the readers mind, when all he really does is just
speak from his inner state of mind, as modernists
are soon to do. To show the use of imagery in this
poem, Ive taken its 2nd stanza as an example. Here
he uses personification on the landscape, thereby
referring to an inanimate object as if it were
human. He compares the landscape to a dead body
lying all around him, and the clouds becoming the
coffins top, and the wind his death lament. The
poet also makes use of alliteration in this poem.
An example from this stanza is corpse, crypt,
cloudy, canopy etc, where you easily notice the
same sounds repeated several times. This has
mostly a decorative effect, but it also makes you
focus on these words, thereby revealing parts of
the poems nature and temperament.

The lands sharp
features seemed to be 1 The Centurys corpse
outleant, 2 His crypt the cloudy canopy, 3 The
wind his death-lament. 4 The ancient pulse of germ
and birth 5 Was shrunken hard and dry, 6 And every
spirit upon earth 7 Seemed fervourless as I. 8
Diction: The choice of words in this poem has been
carefully selected, leaving little to coincidence.
If you look carefully, you notice him using lots
of negatively loaded words such as grey, desolate,
broken, haunted etc. He himself is all alone out
in the cold with all his negatively loaded words.
But this changes further on in the poem. In stanza
number 3 you will notice a change in the poets use
of diction. In stead of keeping mainly to
negatively loaded words, he suddenly makes use of
positively loaded words too.

Words like frail,
aged, gaunt and small still remains, but you also
get words like evensong, full-hearted and joy
illimited. This change in diction shows the reader
that something new has occurred in the poem. A
song-bird has entered, spreading warmth and hope
into an earlier desolate and dead landscape.
Another thing to bear in mind (in a more of a
general matter concerning his poems) as you read
Hardys poems, is that he chooses to avoid
following a jewelled line. He doesnt care for
writing just pretty poetry. He breaks with
conventions concerning the normal use of language.
At once a voice arose among 1 The bleak twigs
overhead 2 In a full-hearted evensong 3 Of joy
illimited; 4 An aged thrush frail, gaunt and small
5 In blast-beruffled plume, 6 Had chosen thus to
fling his soul 7 Upon the growing gloom. 8 Rhyme
scheme: As you read it through, you easily find
its rhyme scheme to be regular.

There is only one
irregularity in it, and this always means that its
put there on purpose, and that it has a special
meaning. He operates with end-rhyme, but both in
masculine and feminine endings. Theme: The major
theme is introduced in the poems 3rd stanza, in
the appearance of a song-bird. It is probably
supposed to resemble hope, and that things are not
quite over yet although it may seem so. Like
winter always brings death along with it, the
coming of autumn restores some of it to life once
more. Although things may look pretty negative
right now, dont give in to it, life will return
sometime, even though you are not aware of it
yourself.

This theme can be seen as a kind of
reflection on the time Thomas Hardy lived. It was
the end of an era, and end of a Period and almost
the end of a Queen. And when a new Period is
called for, its often a reaction to the old one.
Now was the time for a reaction. Things looked
dark and not so promising. People didnt know what
hope there lay in the future, but as this poem
says, there may be hope coming although you dont
know of its coming. In the poems last stanza, the
man revealing his thoughts to us sees a glimpse of
hope, as the song-bird colours the air with its
singing.

There may be hope after all. Is it the
spring coming once more? Or are his Demi-Gods just
playing with him? So little cause for carolings 1
Of such ecstatic sounds 2 Was written on
terrestial things 3 Afar or nigh around, 4 That I
could think there trembled through 5 His happy
good-night air 6 Some blessed Hope whereof he knew
7 And I was unaware. 8 Conclusion If youve
followed me through these 5 pages, you will
probably not only feel that your understanding of
the poem is enhanced, but also your understanding
of poems in general. Ive tried to guide you
through some of the main elements of poetry,
giving a brief explanation as to what they are and
how to find them. Because Ive chosen to spend so
much time on this, I didnt use them all in each
and every stanza. But now that you have it in
front of you, why not try to look for signs of the
different elements in the other stanzas? If I were
to give my own opinion of this poem, then I think
I like the other title of the poem better.

It is
more fitting, considering the context around the
writer at the time. You are in the last day of the
19th century, the queen is breathing her last few
breaths, and so is the Victorian era. Awaiting
just around the corner is a completely new era, a
new king, and an entirely new Period entirely
different from the Victorian..

Research essay sample on Strong Analysis Of The Elements Of Thomas Hardys Poetry