Explain the different ways in which Tennyson tells the story in ‘Mariana’
In ‘Mariana’, Tennyson uses several different techniques in order to tell the story. One of the most significant ways is through the use of language. One way in which he does this is through the language used to create imagery of neglect and decay. For example, in the opening stanza, he describes how ‘broken sheds look’d sad and strange’, which shows how the grounds of the ‘lonely moated grange’ are falling into decay and deterioration. He also describes how the ‘blackest moss…thickly crusted’, which demonstrates how the garden has been neglected, as the flower pots are filled with thick moss rather than the beautiful flowers which the reader assumes used to fill the pots. As a result, the meaning of the poem is affected by this language, as the reader is immediately presented with imagery of neglect and decay, which shows that Mariana does not care about the presentation of her home. Tennyson uses these details as a reflection of Mariana’s deteriorating psychological state. Tennyson also describes the scenery around the ‘moated grange’ in great detail, more so than he goes into detail of the description of Mariana herself. By doing this, Tennyson appears to show the insignificance of the character of Mariana, as she is overshadowed even by the scenery around her. Tennyson does not describe the physical appearance of Mariana once, whereas the majority of the poem describes the decaying state of her surroundings. For example, in her room Tennyson describes the ‘mouldering wainscot’ and the ‘slow clock ticking’, whereas the reader is not told anything about the protagonist herself. Tennyson uses onomatopoeia throughout the poem to create a slightly tense atmosphere which merely serves to enhance the sense of abandonment of the ‘lonely moated grange’ in Mariana. For example, in the opening stanza, Tennyson describes a ‘clinking latch’, which suggests that there are signs of life in the...
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