"Rain" By Edward Thomas An Analysis Entitled "The 'rain' Of War"

1282 words - 5 pages

On the brink of joining World War I, the United Kingdom set up a draft system to recruit young men into the military. This system set limits on sex, physical disabilities, marital status, and of course, age. Although Edward Thomas fell outside of these restrictions, therefore saving him from ever having to dress in uniform, a patriotic Thomas still wanted to serve his country, so he enlisted. However, before fighting his battles in Europe, Thomas wrote the famous poem, "Rain," in which he discusses the pains of death and war. Thomas creates a speaker with whom he can relate and uses this speaker to represent the possible scenarios and feelings that he may face in any future warlike situations. In "Rain," Thomas' diction, organization, and punctuation all paint intense, disturbing images, which in turn convey the poem's main theme of war and death.Thomas' diction plays an essential role in reaffirming the poem's main theme. This is evident in the first lines of the poem when he writes, "Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain / On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me / Remembering again that I shall die" (1-3). The word "rain" is repeated three times in the first line, initially alone, then with the preceding adjectives "midnight" and "wild." All of these words describe the Thomas' surroundings and symbolize his loneliness. The first "rain" stands alone with no adjective, just as Thomas is alone, while the second and third "rain" are described by midnight and wild, which describe his surroundings and state of mind. These ideas become more obvious in the second line, as Thomas uses the word "solitude," reiterating his aloneness.In terms of diction, Thomas additionally incorporates several similes into his poem. In line 13, he writes, "Like a cold water among broken reeds," referring back to a supposed loved one hopefully not being "helpless among the living and the dead" (12). This simile paints an extremely morose picture, further illustrating Thomas' inner feelings and pain. The adjectives cold and broken in this simile particularly emphasize these feelings. Another simile is found in lines 15 and 16 where Thomas writes, "Like me who have no love which this wild rain / Has not dissolved except the love of death." Now, Thomas is saying that he lacks love because the rain has melted away whatever love he had. Now, he is only left with love for death because he feels so tortured in his situation in the cold, "wild rain" (15).Essentially, this poem can be divided into two parts; the first of which, Thomas is writing in first person, sharing his inner feelings about himself; the second part in which he still discusses his inner feelings, however this time, those feelings are about others, not himself. These parts divide at the end of line 7, where a colon clearly marks the spot. Ultimately, the Thomas is frightened by death, and perhaps is envious of those who have died. He wants to free himself of the torture he suffers waiting for his death...

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