“Modern Love.” The term brings to mind the changing dynamic of today's society. This change has been present for decades and continues on to this day. In George Meredith's poem he illiterates the negative impact of this change in a case that could encompass so many couples; the pain of a loveless marriage. Through his use of diction, and metaphor Meredith show the pain and heartache of two people being so close, yet so emotionally distant.
The first line of the poem begins the dark theme (By this he knew she wept with waking eyes), showing how the husband has seen his wife's suffering; as well as painting a memorable picture through the use of alteration. The alteration serves another purpose as well. It's smooth deliverance shows just how used to the situation the husband is to his wife's tears. In line 2 we see just how helpless the husband is to help, his hand “quivers” out of nervousness, and in line 3 we see the extent of the wife's sobs (Shook their common bed). The dark selection of diction continues as metaphors are employed in lines 5&6 (And strangled mute, like little gaping snakes, dreadfully venomous to him). The truly telling word in these lines is “Strangled,” this extremely active verb implies force. This describes the situation of any willfully married wife during the time the poem was written. They had little choice in not only their husband, but also in the lifestyle handed to the by that husband, not to mention that divorce during this time period was early unheard of. The next lines hint at the wife's feeling of death, (“Stone-still”) showing her complete hopelessness at the situation imposed on her. Lines 8-12 have the same dark imagery (“Pale drug of silence”, “Sleep's heavy measure”, “move-less”, “Dead black years”), but those same images fit into another, larger image. The author uses them to describe her “Giant heart of memories and tears.” Meredith clearly shows the long lasting nature of the wife's...
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