“The Darkling Thrush”

891 Words2 Pages

“The Darkling Thrush” is a sorrowful poem, which uses a variety of writing techniques to present forth the theme of never giving up hope, while still keeping with the bleak atmosphere of the poem. Poet and novelist Thomas Hardy wrote this poem on December 31, 1899, the last day of the 19th century. The speaker in the poem creates a gloomy and negative tone; yet, in the end it becomes slightly more upbeat, when the belief of hope is spread from the thrush. It is dusk and the speaker is alone outside, leaning against a wooden gate. He is an inward character, which is made evident by the dramatized conviction that “all mankind…had sought their household fires.” The land seemed lifeless with nothing growing and no animals near. Amidst the darkness, a frail thrush began to sing a joyful tune. The feeble bird’s ability to throw its soul to the world uplifted the speaker. It was as though the bird knew something hopeful of the future that the speaker did not.

The Darkling Thrush has a variety of rhythm, meter and rhyming elements, which help contribute to the overall value of the poem. It is written in iambic tetrameter, with lines 1, 3, 5, and 7 having four stressed syllables, and lines 2, 4, 6, and 8 having only three stressed syllables. It has an ABABCDCD rhyme scheme, which in turn adds to the melancholy tone of the poem, and creates consistency in the poem’s sense of despair. The lines in this poem are roughly equal in length, and the pattern throughout remains coherently uniform. The poet creates structure in the poem by forming two sentences in each of the first two stanzas, and only one sentence in each of the last two stanzas. This formation combined with the strict use of declarative sentences, and an absence of transition w...

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...crypt the cloudy canopy’ creates a strict, harsh sound, adding to the bitter despondency of the poem. The specific use of wording throughout this poem works to create the gloomy atmosphere present within the poem.

Thomas Hardy presented a negative tone throughout the poem, while still keeping with the more uplifting theme of hope. With the thorough use of metaphors, similes, terminology, structure, and rhyme scheme, “The Darkling Thrush” works well to produce its desired intention. Although the theme of hope is clearly presented in the end of the poem, Hardy does not lose the sense of misery within the poem. He finds a way to display both hope and dejection in a cleverly interesting way. “The Darkling Thrush” is an interesting poem of a frail little bird that is great enough to change the thoughts of a man.

Works Cited

"The Darkling Thrush" by Thomas Hardy

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