Poetry and Nature

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Nature is the pre-dominant source of theme and techniques in poetry in society. We see evidence of this within the works on Thomas Hardy. Nature is an important aspect of Hardy’s work. He uses nature in order to set the atmosphere of the poem, and uses external elements to mirror the internal emotions of the protagonist. Nature acts as a tool for Hardy to enhance imagination and reflect events and emotions. Nature also provides the poet with inspiration. Using nature to symbolize is one technique poets use in order to convey an idea or message that the poet wants to underline and express. In Thomas Hardy’s poems ‘Neutral Tones’, ‘The Moth Signal’ and ‘The Darkling Thrush’ we see nature being used to portray these.

The poem ‘Neutral Tones’ was written in 1867 which is part of Hardy’s collection of Wessex Poems and Other Verses. The poem is about the end of a relationship, and presents the protagonist’s emotions through the visual imagery and nature. The protagonist displays deep emotions which ironically contrast the feel and first impressions the title gives; ‘Neutral Tones’ uses neutral colours such as black, gray, and white in order to help the reader visualise the events in the poem; these colours also set the mood that the poet is trying to portray. In the first verse the atmosphere is set, the first line “We stood by the pond that winter day…” gives an atmosphere of tranquillity and peace; Hardy conveys this by using words that do not have a harsh sound. Winter also is used to compare the relationship; cold and bitter. Winter is also associated with the end of the cycle of seasons further mirroring the end of the relationship “cycle”. The protagonist describes the sun as white, normally the sun would be described as yellow but in keeping with the neutral tone of the poem it is white; also the colour yellow is usually associated with joy and life by using the colour white the persona takes an element that which is normally pleasant and filled with life and...
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