3 Relationships Essay

‘The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower’ Essay: 400-450 words By Maxwell Hardy There are an awful lot of hidden messages in Dylan Thomas’s poem ‘The Force that Through the Green Fuse Dives the Flower,’ but only if you go looking for them. Probably the two most prominent themes are the relationship between Life and Death, as well as Thomas’s perception of what ‘drives’ them; a divine, natural power that manipulates it.

The poem is mostly written in the first-person, describing Thomas’s reaction to the things that he discovers and his disbelief as he tries to come to terms with it.Thomas maintains a strong emphasis on life and death throughout the poem. He draws a strong correlation between the two in the very beginning of the poem by likening them to explosives. The stem of a blooming, blossoming flower is the fuse, gradually getting smaller and smaller, until the spark reaches the bottom and ignites the explosive, ‘blasting the roots of trees,’ killing us off when we mature and come of age.

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Again this connection is strengthened when he claims the very stuff we are made of, ‘clay,’ is also used to make the ‘hangman’s lime,’ the material hangmen and undertakers use to cover bodies when they decay.By repeating this concept over and over in each stanza Thomas sets the foundation for his poem and moulds everything else around it, making the poem’s objective clear and firmly planting what he wants to convey to the reader in their memory. A key theme in Thomas’s poem is the presence of a divine, almost god-like entity, which creates, maintains, and has dominion over life.

It is the vigorous ‘force that drives’ life forward ‘through the rocks. ’ We get a sense of its domination over time as well when it ‘whirls the water’ and ‘stirs the quicksand. The clever wordplay on quick-sand conjures the thought of sand and its twirling motion presents us with the image of an hourglass, a medieval instrument used for measuring time. And the revolving, circular motion of the hand whirling water resembles the hand on a clock, which slowly ‘ticks a heaven round the stars. ’ We also discover its power over death as well, how it ‘ropes the blowing wind’ which ‘Hauls my shroud sail,’ a metaphor for a slow, drawn out, inevitable death.

Thomas’s writing style in the poem is rather hard going for the average Joe reader who just wants a short, simple poem to skim over.The poem’s disjointed phrasing forces the reader to pay extra attention to what is being said and unintentionally discover the extra meanings Thomas has so wittingly placed in it. Thomas describes feelings and a situation that the reader should be able to relate to. For those that can’t do this immediately, the poem sparks new ideas, such as life and death being intertwined, and makes them think. By using words like ‘shroud’ and ‘lover’ which could be interpreted in different ways, Thomas is silently giving a shoulder nudge to the reader and provoking them to think more deeply about what they are reading.


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