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Explication On Convergence Of The Twain

1012 words - 4 pages

"The Convergence of the Twain"-- An Account of Vanity, Ice, and Fate in the Atlantic Ocean Fourteen days after the Titanic sank on April 14, 1912, Thomas Hardy wrote "The Convergence of the Twain" to raise money for the survivors of the wreck of that "unsinkable ship." He creates for the reader a well-focused, starkly unemotional account of one crucial moment in time when the "Immanent Will" that guides the action of the poem allows the superficial designs and desires of mankind to meet with the indifferent forces of nature.The imagery in Hardy's poem is tight and concise. He uses images of isolation, hot, and cold to emphasize the funereal depths to which the ship has sunk. The reader feels the finality of loss knowing that the ship is "In a solitude of the sea." The irretrievable loss is reinforced by the knowledge that the "salamandrine" fires that produced the steel ship, ran the engines, and gave it life are now quenched by the "cold currents" which are circulating through its the steel arches and beams turning them into "tidal lyres." It will not be reclaimed by its builders.Hardy uses the images of "human vanity" and "the Pride of Life," to portray shallow moral values and to imply that the ship was built as a monument to the worldly values of society. They create the sense that this "vaingloriousness" on the bottom of the sea was a worthless, pointless creation, built to satisfy the excessive pride of trivial values. The mirrors meant to "glass the opulent" have been relegated to the ocean floor and "sea-worms" crawl over them, "grotesque, slimed, dumb, and indifferent." The jewelry of the rich and pampered travelers will no longer "ravish the sensuous mind." Now below the waves, it lies in the dark, "bleared and black and blind" with no light to reflect its glory. The ostentatious display of wealth is reduced to the detritus of the ocean floor. The only lives to notice this intrusion into the black depths of oblivion are the "moon-eyed fishes" and they dispassionately inquire, "What does this vaingloriousness down here?" Even the fish, which require enormous eyes to see in the dark, know that the "gaily great" accomplishment of the shipbuilders has come to naught.The imagery connected with the iceberg is ominous and foreboding and the reader begins to understand that possibly more that simple circumstance is guiding the fate of the ship. Far away, and unknown to the ship and its proud builders, there is "a Shape of Ice" growing. The ice, like the ship, is magnificent in its own realm. It too has been prepared with the same care, as has the ship; they grew together "in stature, grace and hue." Although they seemingly have no relationship to one another, it is clear that the ice is being "prepared as a sinister mate" for the ship. This metaphor of marriage is carried through to the end of the poem. That this...

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