Trials and Tribulations
Love is complicated. It goes through many stages and tests throughout a relationship. As most people know most relationships don’t last. Emily Bronte’s poem “Love and Friendship” is an allegorical quatrain that elegantly uses symbolic imagery to imply that friendship is a necessary building block for a long lasting loving relationship.
Bronte implements the use of similes in lines one and two by saying “ [l]ove is like the wild rose-briar, [f]riendship like the holly-tree.” She is saying love is beautiful, romantic and passionate but also delicate and fragile that at times can hurt because rose-briars have thorns. When friendship is compared to the holly-tree it can be seen as durable, reliable, and resilient yet still pretty. Line three uses symbolism to imply that as love blossoms and grows we tend not to concentrate on the friendship but as line six asks, which type of relationship will last longer?
The second stanza begins with the use of the universal symbolism of “spring.” Love is at its sweetest in the beginning with all the hope and optimism of new love. Time passes and now full blown love consumes all with its intoxicating effects which Bronte expresses with “summer blossoms scent the air.” Now more time has passed and its “winter” which symbolizes stark, cold, and hard times when things tend to die or hibernate until spring comes around again. Line eight, the last line in this stanza asks who would think love is still beautiful and wonderful in these difficult “winter” times.
The final stanza gets to the heart of the point that Bronte is trying to make. In line nine she is saying that during extremely difficult times people can come to “scorn” or ridicule the person they love but as the next line states they should surround themselves with the friendship that underlines their love. This way “when December blights thy brow” or when the hard times seem to be withering away the loving relationship it can be keep alive through friendship which is symbolized by the holly which stays green during harsh winters.
The use of...