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Like most of the poems by Thomas hardy the poem “At castle Boterel” is presented with nostalgic romanticism. The poet gives the feeling of the present in a reflection of the past events and experiences. He begins by giving the present situation he is in, at the meeting point of a lane and a highway giving an insight of the status of his life. This depicts a moment that he takes to pause and reflect on the past just as one cannot continue with the same speed he was in when he reaches a junction. The pause of the persona in the poem is meant to drive his thoughts back to past by making him look at the winding road behind him that makes his mind go back to the past. In this Introductory part, the poet uses flashback to present the gist of the poem. He uses aesthetic distance to make the reader feel like he is being talked to. That means he is in a position to identify with the personas’ narration. The poet also uses rhyme to enhance the mood of the poems. In the description of the Wagonnete and how it was wet, the prowess of being descriptive is not only seen but it also enhances the use of rhyme. The use of these stylistic devices gives a progression that is necessary to getting into the narration.
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The persona sees himself with a lady, imagines or remembers the long past when he was with the lady. The season that the lady was benighted is projected as a warm and dry one while the present one is seen as being wet and drizzling. This indicates that the persona has a view and a thought on things that happened in the previous seasons. The two of them go uphill not on a mode of transport that is available but on foot just to rest the already tired pony. The persona draws the attention of the reader on themselves and not on the scenery, weather or their environment. An indication of the value at the moment independent of other factors is emphasized. The nostalgic mood is enhanced by the use of rhyme as seen in the repetition of the’d’ sound at the end of all the lines in the stanza. There is alliteration in the second stanza whereby the’s’ sound is used to state the exit of the chaise from the gist of the poem “sighed and slowed”. It was meant to have the chaise presented as an important party of the environment that had created an attachment of the persona and the lady but was not necessary or was non-existent in the creation of the main theme. The chaise is a supporting character in the theme build up.
In the third stanza, the persona asserts the irrelevance of the actions, words and the results to his presentation of ideas. But he acknowledge the fact that they are the reason for the resultant factors of the afterward feelings. Here we get a glimpse of the initial presentation’s basis; it all lays in the memory of the persona and not in the presentation that affects the environment and the happenings but the memory of the same. The persona takes us to the early loose of the feelings and their irrelevance that is created. It is from this memorial presentation that we are able to feel the personas move to the actual realization of the theme. In order to give a poetic presentation of the same, the use of various stylistic devices is applied. The persona applies irony in telling the reader that the actions and the words that are spoken are not relevant thus creating an irony as per the expectation. There is effective utilization of the rhyme too to develop not only the theme of the poem but also the mood and the attitude of the persona.
Feelings come and go as it is always said. In the forth stanza the universality of the feelings that the persona experienced is projected. The strength he felt at that specific time and effects it had on him can be traced here. He describes the short time he had experienced and the accruing feelings. With a tone of regret we can note that though the feelings were there the persona himself never had sincere reciprocates for the lady. The comparison of the feelings that they felt to the mountains that have been passed by others before them and are still being done creates a symbolism. In the raising of the rhetoric question, there is the application of the monologue whereby the persona answers his question.
In the symbolic representation of the process the poet states that having the feelings is a road having rocks and borders. The feelings are given as having ups and down but their prominence in affecting the earth is seen. He describes the feelings as being felt by him and the lady. Symbolism is therefore a major stylistic device that is applied in this stanza. The repetition of the ‘c’ sound in color and cast gives rise to consonance.
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In the sixth stanza, after the persona has presented the universality of his feelings he went on to explain the uniqueness of his personal feelings. He indicates how vivid the feelings and the memory are to him. This style is characteristic of most of the work done by Mr. Hardy; a presentation of issue with an aspect of being haunted from the past. He further explains that there is a reminder of all the actions and the memory. There is the use of rhyme and alliteration to enhance the presentation.
In the last stanza the persona gives a tone of attachment and helplessness in trying to forget the happenings of the past. He shows his desire to change what had happened and get rid of the reminders of the happenings. At the end too there is a tone of resignation whereby the persona doesn’t wish to go back to the same experience. To give a credible ending and conclude without loosing the set pace, the poet effectively applies repetition in the use of the word “shrinking”. This is also coupled with rhyme and the same word is rhymed with sinking this is also seen in the words domain and again.
Conclusively, the poet shows the magnitude of the human feelings. Through personal experiences that are illustrated by use of different styles of language. We can be in a position to understand the person and the theme presented by the poet. The poet lays a literary stepping stone that allows the persona to present a diversified world of feelings into a short elaborate summary.
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