Fern Hill

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In “Fern Hill,” Dylan Thomas uses poetic devices to express that childhood innocence is eventually lost. Using tone, Dylan Thomas establishes a carefree, naïve atmosphere. Flowing through time as if it is a story, “Fern Hill” begins with a cheery child and follows him through a typical day: “Thomas opens the poem like a storyteller…[Now] is a storyteller’s phrase; ‘Now as I was young,’ advises the listener to sit back and hear a story about childhood. The word easy here recalls the comfort and freedom from care that adults associate with childhood” (Napierkowski par 4). Thomas uses tone to give the reader a sense of relaxation and freedom of a child. When the child awakens, the farm has a different, more serene feeling. Ultimately, in the last stanza, the child develops into an adult and no more can he play as a youth, but rather he is a victim of time. Thomas uses a second device, personification, to show the passage of time. Time acts as a guide or caretaker: “Time let me hail and climb” (4), “Time let me play and be” (13), and “Time held me green and dying” (54). Dylan Thomas gives time another dimension by displaying it as a guide through life. Trying to show that people are vulnerable to the limits of time, Thomas brings time to life to watch the speaker grow. Lastly, with the use of repetition, Thomas emphasizes childhood memories. The recurrences of the words “time” (4), “golden” (5), and “happy” (2) and references to flowing water highlight the carefree days of children, which are not limited by time. Repetition of time, along with happiness, emphasizes that children are content, but as they grow older, they begin to understand reality. Time, like flowing water, can never move backwards, only forwards, as demonstrated in the poem. Furthermore, there is much repetition of day into night. The continual rise and fall of day into night is symbolic for the cycle of life, as people age and innocence fades. Through “Fern Hill,” Dylan Thomas implies that after...
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