AP English Literature
24 September 2012
“Modern Love,” a poetic sequence by George Meredith, describes a skeptical opinion on the idea of modern love. Meredith’s devastating tone, complex similes and metaphors, and dark imagery convey a sad and regretful outlook on the love of this time.
“Modern Love” is riddled with a tone full of regret and heartache, making this modern love seem more like the opposite of love. The speaker says “she wept with waking eyes” and her “strange low sobs” were “strangled mute.” The words describing this woman are full of grief, full of “vain regret.” Her husband is painfully aware of his wife’s sadness, through her reaction to “his hand’s light quiver by her head” and her sobs that were “dreadfully venomous to him.” The speaker’s worried tone shows how much the husband wishes for his wife to be happy, but his actions of loving care and cautiousness do nothing to quell her tears. This makes modern love seem hopeless and full of despair for both the man and his distraught wife.
Use of intense simile and metaphor throughout “Modern Love” also demonstrates a grim view on the concept of modern love. The muffled cries of the wife are called “little gaping snakes” showing how afraid and vulnerable the husband is to them. The man’s wife has a “Giant heart of Memory and Tears” which shows the heavy, almost useless organ that the wife carries around within her, empty of love, only able to remember the sadness to which she has been subjected to. Then, the husband and wife are said to be “like sculpture effigies” in their “common bed,” lying “stone-still.” Instead of two lovers talking to each other and loving each other in their bed, a place shared between the two of them, they are “moveless” and silent. This makes modern love seem empty of joy, empty of companionship, and devoid of love.
“Modern Love” also utilizes imagery to portray the sadness and tension of modern love. The...