How can we compare and explore the themes of love and loss within 4 poems of our choice
This essay will be based upon the four poems “First Love” by John Clare, “Remember” by Christina Rossetti, “When We Two Parted” by Lord Byron and “A Woman to Her Lover” by Christina Walsh. Love and loss will be widely explored and compared in this essay, and we will be shown how the authors use of language and structure in each poem, can be shown to portray their ideas, regarding love and loss. Here is some information about just one of our poets, Christina Rossetti. Christina Rossetti’s poems related to her, and changed since she found out that she was diagnosed with cancer.
She was worried about her disease and so unfortunately died in 1894. In this essay, a discussion will be raised about the four poems, comparing how they are different, what the significance of each is, how the author expresses the theme of love and loss in different ways and the language and structure that is used to explore and express these ideas. “First Love”, “Remember” and “When We Two Parted” have a fixed rhyme – (ABAB rhyme). However, “A Woman to Her Lover” has free verse structure (no iambic pentameter) which was used to develop the idea of freedom because the poem is about “real love” and freedom.
It is the only poem of the four that I have chosen, which doesn’t stick to any rhythm. A good example of this is when Christina Walsh says “O husband, I am yours forever and our co-equal love will make the stars to laugh with joy. ” This is one way that Christina shows freedom in her poetry. “Remember” has a patriarchal sonnet, which is where the first eight lines discuss a particular idea of loss, and the last six lines offer a resolution/conclusion of that idea.
When We Two Parted” has a blank verse and uses an iambic pentameter (ten syllables per line, each alternately stressed/unstressed). An example of iambic pentameter in “When We Two Parted” is “Half broken-hearted, to sever for years. ” In these two poems, “First Love” and “A Woman to Her Lover”, the authors represent love in ways which they can examine the nature of love. In reading “First Love”, john Clare gives out a clear message to the readers: How it feels when we fall in love for the first time. He expresses falling in love as something magical.
He describes how his legs “refused to walk away”, in other words meaning he was totally wrapped up in love and so mesmerized by her beauty that he did not actually want to walk away. “A Woman to Her Lover” is unusual. The poem represents love, but it is as If Christina Walsh doesn’t want to be possessed or worshipped, but respected instead. She thinks love means equal partnership; for example sharing things. It is not love if she does everything for her partner – “No servant will I be if that be what you ask. O lover I refuse you! “When We Two Parted” and “Remember” both express love in different ways.
“When We Two Parted” shows that you do not know what you have until you lose it. Lord Byron had many affairs and therefore when he found out that his mistress was dying, he could not openly grieve because nobody knew that they were lovers. When he found out about his mistress dying, he felt sad and depressed, but all the same felt trapped, because he could not express himself. This sadness and depression made it so hard for Byron to express his feelings. These four poems also represent loss in some ways. When We Two Parted” and “Remember” are very similar.
Both poems give a different kind of message to their lovers but have one thing in common – the loss of a good, strong relationship. Byron is portraying that his mistress dumped him and now he does not know how to deal with it because he is married and is having an affair. He cannot openly talk about how he feels as his affair was a secret. He also writes “A knell to mine ear” in the third stanza. This is explaining that if he hears her name, it would be like a death bell in his ears. This poem also shows love deteriorating.
Christina Rossetti on the other hand, is explaining to her lover how she is dying slowly, and to move on and be happy. The first line “… remember me when I am gone away” clearly tells us that this is poem is about loss and possibly death. She talks about separating from a loved one – possibly her husband – but it is not clear because in the second line she says that she will go “far away into a silent land. ”
This again could represent heaven – the fact that she is dying, or that she is just simply fed up of her relationship and wants to get away from everything, including love. First Love” is the only poem out of these four that hardly represents loss (in the sense of never being to experience first love once again). It shows that he has lost his heart to her and is blinded by love. This can particularly be expressed when John Clare writes “and then my blood rushed to my face and took my eyesight quite away,” and “I could not see a single thing. ” This shows that through his eyes, all he can see is her, and love, and he is overwhelmed by the feeling. However, “A Woman to Her Lover” represents loss because Christina Walsh’s partner is losing out on getting her.
We can see this in the first three stanzas where Christina is refusing her lover and wants to be independent. Focusing on the first two stanzas mainly, there is evidence of Christina refusing her lover; “O lover I refuse you! ” (First stanza) and “Fool, I refuse you! ” (Second stanza). This shows that Rossetti may perhaps be trying to express loss, but the loss of which is derived from love. This is how the poems share a link, they are on the basis of love, but some waver off into loss. These four poems show different aspects of imagery. First Love” shows natural imagery – for example “trees”, “flowers” and “snow” which create a happy background, but “Remember” creates a dark and depressive mood, which we can clearly see from her style of language and tone, which is morbid.
We can see this when Rossetti says “”… remember me when I am gone away, gone far away into the silent land, when you can no more hold me by the hand, nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. The rhyme is also important here because it increases the fluency. When We Two Parted” also creates a dull and depressive atmosphere because we can see from the title that the relationship is over and that there is bound to be grief from both lovers. Finally, “A Woman to Her Lover” expresses imagery that causes tension, as the last stanza has a turning point explaining how Christina Walsh will be with her husband forever, whereas in other stanzas she refuses her lover as mentioned above. To explore love and loss, and portray to the reader how they are felt, each writer uses a different mix of literary techniques.
Similes can be very effective in comparing human emotions to items that the author can relate to. In “First Love,” One example of how John Clare uses similes is when he describes and compares his first love’s beauty to flowers – “Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower. ” Clare also uses a hyperbole; “And then my blood rushed to my face and took my eyesight quite away. ” This is known as a hyperbole (an exaggeration) because he isn’t literally blind, he has just lost his heart to a woman, and this highlights the phrase: love is blind, which is often heard these days. Clare was so caught up in love that he could not see anything else.
He uses personification when saying “Are flowers the winters choice? ” He is saying that he has never felt these feelings before, and is comparing love to snow because snow is beautiful. It was easy to picture the scene of the poems because it sounded sensible, and is backed up by a clear use of emotive language and imagery. Some things such as “snow” in “First Love” are unusual, but not unheard of, and so this results in people finding it is easy to paint a mental picture of. The ideas of love and loss in these poems are important as they show us what the speaker felt at the time.
It was a personal experience to them, and the imagery they used was very effective because it took a powerful grip on the reader, and the way imagery was used, is something that readers could relate to. The authors made each poem sound as pure as possible through techniques such as using metaphors, similes, personification, hyperboles, adjectives and imagery. These four poems are effective because they explore the idea and theme of love and loss thoroughly enough for the readers to get a general perspective on how love and loss can affect us in everyday life.
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