Up-hill and Looking Back and Afterwards
The poems I am going to analyse and compare are 'Remember', 'Up-hill'
and 'Looking Back' by Christina Rossetti and 'Afterwards' by Thomas
Hardy. These poems reflect on the theme of loss and how it affects the
poets when they reflect on it. The poems also show the poets'
preoccupation of death. In these poems, the poets approach the theme
of death using various different techniques and linguistic devices.
Christina Rossetti is a passionate and powerful poet; the majority of
her poetry has contained the themes of either love or death, and in
many cases both. Even in the poems which she wrote for children, these
themes are prominent. Hardy too was very close to nature. In his poem
there are vivid descriptions of objects and the element of nature is
almost always present.
The titles of these poems all give a hint about what the poem is
about. 'Remember' tells us that the poet wants to be remembered for
something. Often one is remembered after her death because the pain of
loss keeps bringing back her memories. In the poem Rossetti does ask
her lover to remember her and demands that he should "Only remember
me". 'Up-hill' tells us that that the poet is probably going on a
journey. This journey is the journey of life, which Rossetti is
inquiring about in her poem. 'Looking back' shows us that the poet is
reflecting on something. Again, one always 'looks back' on life when
he is near his death to see what he has done and evaluate his life.
'Afterwards' is also a title which could refer to the theme of death.
Hardy wants to know what will happen 'afterwards' when he is dead. He
wants to be remembered not for his fame but for his closeness to
nature and for the person he is.
There are contrasting attitudes to the same theme in the poems. In
'Remember' Rossetti looks at death in a very grim manner. She looks at
it with anger as it is the gate between her lover and herself. This is
not so in her other poems. In 'Up-hill' she looks at it with fear and
so a series of questions follow. She is unsure of herself and her
destination and so naturally her fear causes her to question so much.
In 'Looking Back' she sees death as a time of reflection - a
reflection of one's achievements and mistakes. She feels that it is
the time for evaluation as it is the final thing left to do before
parting away. Hardy looks at death as a time of evaluation - from
other people. He feels that once we die other people will remember us
because we are no more present with them. In his poem he hopes that he
will be remembered for his love of God's gift of nature and not for
his fame or achievements.
These poems take a different approach towards death because the poets
have contrasting attitudes towards the theme of death. 'Remember'
shows Rossetti preparing her lover for her death. In the first half of
the sonnet Rossetti is asking her lover to "Only remember me". She is
being very selfish in...