A man stands in front of a druid stone just as a reader stares at a brooding poem of love lost and fonder days remembered. “The Shadow on the Stone” gives insight into the psyche of Hardy after his first wife’s death, yet how does someone come to such a conclusion? Through the understanding of the strategic usage of several literary and poetic devices his audience is able to discern their pertinence to the comprehension of Hardy’s message. This poem is not necessarily difficult for the average reader to grasp, its value as a work of poetic prowess is found in the power of impression. “The Shadow on the Stone” forms a relationship with the reader, despite wielding fairly simple poetic structure, by stimulating several unifying characteristics which thread many readers together such as; hardship, regret, and loss.
Hardy appears deliberate in constructing this poem in a consistent manner. The lines are all placed in the same staggered fashion in all three stanzas. This method is compelling due to the fact that he may be attempting to stress the constant variation of life through the structure of the poem. The persona of the poem certainly tastes a wide variety of emotions, yet these emotions that are inevitably going to reoccur in the natural course of lifetime. This is reiterated through the certainty readers have that the individual stanzas are diverse, and will occur in the following stanzas as if to illustrate the prevalence of life’s tribulations no matter how random they may feel. This allows the reader to relate to the vulnerable human quality of the poem, no doubt creating a more attentive reader. It is no secret that people take some amount of pleasure or interest in someone e...
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...d should that not be enough Hardy arranged the poem a relatively small package as to not scare a depressed reader.
This poem manages to reach out on a personal level even though the method is transparent which validates the authenticity of Hardy’s poetic skill. He builds an image through the use of simple poetic devices to lull the reader into an easy read and proceeds to squeeze the reader’s sore spots to capture their attention. Hardy’s poem reads in the same manner it must have been written, in self loathing. Hardy was a tragic figure living within a tragic poem, this work accurately portrays Hardy in his futile attempt to understand and deal with the unavoidable trials of his life. He uses this struggle as a common thread to effectively tie his audience together, capturing the readers as they marinade in one of the defining qualities of life: regret.
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