The Darkling Thrush Themes

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Search for Meaning

The speaker's despair echoes Hardy's own world-weariness and loss of hope for humanity's future. Isolated from those who have "sought their household fires," the speaker sees a death-haunted landscape and a "growing gloom." Hardy himself mourned the passing of agricultural society and saw little cause to celebrate England's rapid industrialization, which helped destroy the customs and traditions of rural life. The speaker's connection to the past has been severed, and he cannot find meaning in the present, and the dawning century, symbolized by the thrush's song, offers little in the way of meaning. The bird is "frail, gaunt, and small," and his "carolings," though joyful and "fullhearted," are an evensong and about to end. Any meaning that a new beginning might bring with it is nowhere to be found, not in the landscape and not in the speaker's heart.

Chaos and Order

The form of Hardy's...

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This section contains 395 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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Poetry for Students
The Darkling Thrush from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.