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"Tall Nettles" by Edward Thomas: Commentary discussing how effect...

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"Tall Nettles" by Edward Thomas: Commentary discussing how effectively the poem conveys its attitude towards nature.

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  • Feb. 11, 2006
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The poem 'Tall Nettles' has a positive attitude of power towards nature. This attitude is effectively conveyed by Edward Thomas, who uses the plant "nettles" as a symbol of nature to illustrate his ideas of nature's powers.

The attitude of power towards nature is first conveyed by Thomas' use of the title. The title of the poem is split into two words: "Tall" and "Nettles." The second word "nettles" is a weed which gives off negative connotations of poison. However, due to Thomas' use of the adjective "tall," the nettles are given a sense of power and pride. Overall, we could say that Thomas is effectively conveying the attitude of power here by creating an image in our minds of height, thus telling us that in this poem, height represents power. This image is emphasized in the title by its visual effects. In the title, Thomas uses capital letter at the beginning of each word and the consonance of the letter "l" to visually reflect power by the height of the letters.

The attitude of nature is further conveyed when Thomas metaphorically describes a battle between nature and man-made tools. As mentioned earlier, the word "tall" gives connotations of power. In his description, Thomas tells us that the nettles, as a symbol of nature, are taller than "the harrow, the plough and the roller." By doing this, Thomas gives the impression that these tools, all made from men, are weaker than nature. This also creates a visual image in our minds of the tall nettles towering over the weak man-made tools. To reinforce this image, Thomas uses adjectives with connotations of death to describe the tools. An example of this is when Thomas describes the harrow as being "rusty," thus telling us that the harrow is weak.

More power is added to nature in the poem by giving it strength and a sense of eternity. In the second line of the poem, Thomas tells us that not only are the nettles taller than these tools, but they have been so for "many springs." This tells us that the...