Thomas Hardy – “The Voice” Essay

The first stanza begins when Hardy listens “the voice” “Saying that now you are not as you were When you had changed from the one who was all to me” the phrase “you are not as you were” suggests to the reader a feeling of nostalgia as he remembers “the one who was all to me”, the long vowels transmit melancholy, and it is emphasized by “all to me” that creates an echoing effect.

To continue this feeling the poet finishes “But as at first, when our day was fair” this phrase, started with staccato to emphasize the difference between past and present, concludes the idea that the author misses the woman he first knew, not the one that had changed. In the second stanza, the poet goes on “Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then” the question “Can it be you that I hear? suggests confusion, it makes the reader think that may be it is hardy’s imagination, the trochaic stress helps to create this feeling; the phrase “let me view you, then” transmits certain desperation from the author, the words “view“ and “you“ creates rhythm. Then hardy continues “Standing as when I drew near to the town Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then, even to the original air-blue gown! the feeling of nostalgia comes back, the phrase “where you would wait for me” brings back the memories of their lives together, the alliteration with /w/ denotes gloominess; the phrase “yes, as I knew you then, even to the original air-blue gown! ” shows emotional language and shows some intimacy.

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The third stanza is meant to deal with reality “Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness Travelling across the wet mead to me here, You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness” The reader can notice the poet’s disappointment, the alliteration with /s/ sounds creates the effect of smoothness that calms down the mood, the word “listlessness” suggests certain indifference and lack of energy, the image that the phrase “dissolved to wan wistlessness” is totally hopeless and the /w/ and /s/ sounds creates a sad tone-

In the last stanza, the poet assumes his lost “Thus I; faltering forward, Leaves around me falling, Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward, And the woman calling. ” the /f/ and /th/ sounds suggest effort and hardness, the phrase “faltering forward” creates the image of stumbling, which denotes the poet’s difficulty to keep on; the phrase “Leaves around me falling” suggests mournfulness; “And the woman calling” shows that the voice will always persist. All in all, I believe Thomas Hardy is finally able to transmit his feelings successfully, he conveys the theme of grief and sorrow vividly.

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