break, break, break

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Grief and Love which Tennyson Tells Me
“Break, Break, Break” is one of the poems written by Alfred, Lord, Tennyson after the death of his friend, Arthur Henry Hallam. He was the Tennyson's best friend from college and he was also engaged to get married with Tennyson's sister. However, he died because of brain hemorrhage in 1833. After his death, Tennyson’s poem shifted to nostalgic. He devoted about seventeen years to writing elegies for Hallam. This poem has four stanzas and each of them reflects Tennyson’s thought. I think that there are two different views in this poem. First, I can see that there are a lot of silent scream which shows his sadness. On the contrary, I can also see the view which is flooded with happy memories. In this essay, I am going to write comments about “Break, Break, Break” from an independent point of view. In the first stanza, Tennyson shows his lose and sadness talking to the sea. We can imagine that he is standing near the sea and thinking about the death of Hallam. “Break, Break, Break” means the sea waves which keep on coming to rock and hitting. The hitting sea waves are breaking again and again. In the poem, the sea reflects his emotion. In other words, breaking sea waves show that Alfred’s heart are breaking due to Hallam’s death. He is too sad to utter his thought that arise in him. It seems as if he does not know how to express his sorrow. I feel Tennyson’s grieving through this poem in the first stanza. The repetition of the word “break” take me into shadowy world and I am shrouded in darkness. These repetition emphasize his monotonies. I feel that his sadness were deep like bottom of the sea. The word “gray” evoke feelings of anxiety and melancholy and the word “cold” make me feel cold and sad. Use of subjunctive clause written in the third sentence complements his sorrow. In the second stanza, Tennyson shows his happy memory with Hallam by remembering. He watches fisherman boy shouting to his sister that is playing at sea where Tennyson is standing. He also hears a sailor fellow sing in his boat on the embayment. These things remind him of his memory of Hallam because they had experienced the same thing. However, those beautiful things of the seaside are wasted on him. Through second stanza, I can see a happy and quiet life near the ocean. I can imagine that Tennyson is playing with Hallam and his sister is smiling at them. Also, it can said that Tennyson is singing a happy song because he want to express his happiness. The repetition of “O, well” seems that he is impressed with such scenes. Even though these things are positive things, he is so depressed that in fact, he watches these things negatively. However beautiful the scenes are, they sound sarcastic to him. In the third stanza, Tennyson is dreaming about his friend Hallam. On the sea, ships are moving on. He see those ships are returning to harbor under the hill. Although he watches them with his vacant eyes, his mind are miles away. His heart is full with grieving. He dream about touch by his friend who does not exist anymore. In addition, he dream about sound of voice by his dead friend. I was surprised at the word “vanish” that is stated in third stanza because the author suddenly expressed Hallam’s death. He does not use words which express death until this time. I thought that Tennyson accept the fact that his friend was dead even though he laments over. I also have an experience that my friend died two months ago, but I have not been able to accept her death still now. When I read this word in this poem, I thought that Tennyson have been facing Hallam’s death, or he wrote this in order to inform his sadness even though he had not been able to face the fact like me. In the fourth stanza, first sentence begins with same phrase “Break, Break, Break”. While it seems that there is no difference between first stanza and fourth stanza, there are slight changes between them. Though the...
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