By Christina Rossetti
On the surface, ‘Remember’ is all about death. The poem is written in the second person, suggesting a relationship of some kind - of ‘you’ and ‘me’. At the time of writing, Rossetti was only nineteen, but had lived many years with a dying father so this may be understood as either a dramatic imagining of her father’s impending death, or a wide-ranging poem regarding death. In the first line, which is the theme of the whole poem the narrator asks to be remembered. “Remember me when I am gone away, "This line sounds like someone pleading. She wants recognition. At this point it could be a couple separating or someone who has to go on a journey. It is only when reading on to the second and third lines that suddenly the reader is aware that it is about dying. It is described as a “silent land”. When Christina writes, “When you can no more hold me by the hand,” the reader is made aware that this is a bodily separation. The lines that follow on then expose separation through death. It is the loss of a loved one and about deals with missing the physical contact such as holding onto that person. This then leads onto the loneliness of death when you can’t share your dreams with a loved one anymore, indicated when the narrator says, “Remember me when no more day by day. You tell me of our future that you planned:” even the ordinary becomes important when a loved one dies such as chatting about day to day events. Christina explores the grieving process within “Remember” after the shock and sadness of someone dying then there is the stage where the one who has died isn’t thought of constantly. The sadness and pain is still there but it isn’t as serious when it is forgotten for a moment. Even then she has advice for the grieving person when she tells them; “do not grieve” The grief process follows on to the pain of thinking about a loved one and feeling pain because of the memories it evokes and the loss of them. In this case the...
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