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How Does R.S. Thomas Convey A Sense Of The Welsh People And Landscape Of Rural Wales In His Poems?

1115 words - 4 pages

R.S. Thomas was born in Cardiff in 1913 and became the rector of Manafon church in 1942. He was a rector there for twelve years and during that time, he taught himself the Welsh language so he could better understand and relate to the local people. At first sight, his poetry is based around a narrow range of subjects: the Welsh people and landscape, but the emotional range of his poetry is vast and it tends to be universalised.The three main poems I am going to write about are ‘Evans’, ‘Lore’, and ‘Cynddylan on a Tractor’.In ‘Evans’, the poet is reflecting on the emptiness, coldness and starkness of Evans’ life and how his surroundings are bare and unfriendly. The personification of the “gaunt kitchen” and the “black kettle’s whine” reinforce the lack of comfort and warmth there is in Evans’ life and further strengthens his loneliness, solitude and the painful and mournful situation he is in. The fact that the kettle is black also shows that everything in his life is dark, bleak and uncomfortable with no hope for the future. It also relates to when, later on in the poem, the poet talks about the dark night closing in on him like death.Evans is represented by the “weather-tortured tree”; he is distorted, twisted, stunted and he has been through much suffering and pain throughout his life. As he lies on his bed about to die, the poet talks about the “tide” of death coming to smother and drown him, which gives us a sense of how appalled the poet is at the loneliness and horror of Evans’ death after his lonely and hard life. It also shows that Evans is old and so frail that he is being drowned by his bed, which, in turn, is being engulfed by the oppressive darkness washing over it, almost so that it is inside Evans and taking away his life. The monosyllabic finish is heavy and leaves an impact on us.‘Evans’ is similar in some ways to the lyrical pleas of ‘The Hill Farmer Speaks’ because the farmer in it is “stripped of love” and is bleak and lonely. This shows the shared experiences in life of the Welsh people and how their lives are hard and lacking in delicate feelings such as love.‘Lore’ is a direct contrast to this. Although it is also about the bleakness of the Welsh people’s lives, it is a Welsh man’s knowledge on how to keep alive and happy in the bleak landscape and not to die in the way that Evans did. It is Job Davies’ fight against the hardships in life and how he is always determined, defiant, stubborn and optimistic, even through the hardest times. R.S. Thomas begins the poem by talking about the harshness in Job’s life in the first stanza. He shows the bleakness and harshness by describing him as: “eighty-five winters old” because winters are cold, harsh and numbing, like his life. He also does this by saying about “the slow poison and treachery of the...

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