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Edward Thomas essay

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Describe the ways in which Thomas presents the experience of strong emotions in 'rain'
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  Describe ways in which Thomas presents the experience of strong emotions in rain. The poem ‘rain’ is an autobiographical poem about a soldier who is fighting in World War 1. He is visualising his fate on the battlefield giving the attitude of depression, anxiety and hopelessness. The overall theme of the poem is the loneliness and uselessness of war. The state of mind is revealed in the opening line ‘Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain’ this is an immediate indication of the writer’s emotional e xperience. The use of the word ‘midnight’ suggests the peak of darkness reflecting his lack of hope, there is no light to see him through, he is certain of his fate. The word nothing is a metaphor showing that he does not envision himself having a future, there is nothing but what he is experiencing in this exact moment. I word wild and the repetition of the word rain suggests he is experiencing a downpour that is unstoppable and overwhelming. This further emphasises his lack of control over his seemingly inevitable fate and how the emotional response to that is take over him, as if he is being drowned in it. The structure and speed of the poem also contributes to the portrayal of strong emotions. The poem is written in free verse, there is only one stanza. Although the poem has 18 lines it is made of only 2 sentences giving the feeling of the poem being separated into 2 separate thoughts. The first sentence consists of him speaking mainly of himself, in the second he speaks a little bit about others before coming back to himself. This structure and the consistent talk of his own emotions and continual talk of himself reinforces that these strong emotions are very centred around his own self and possibly not influenced by others. The slow and unbroken pace brings a sense of overall depression and sadness. It also makes the reader feel as though Thomas is in no rush, he is lethargic and calm as he talks about his impending death. He uses metaphors such as ‘for washing me cleaner than I have been’ which could ha ve the underlying meaning of death being cleansing, all his sadness and sin will be washed away, he will no longer have to worry or feel the way he does. It could also potentially mean that he feels his sadness has cleansed him, his death is imminent and his bleakness and solitude is washing away his concerns in preparation, as if it is almost calming. There is also a religious/spiritual element (he may be referring to baptism ect.) this theory would be reinforced by his quote: ‘blessed are the dead’ and ‘I   pray’. This would also bring across his impending death, he is thinking of god, cleaning him, praying hi and hoping that when he is dead that god will bless him as he has done to his fallen friends. His sadness is also portrayed through the extended metaphor of rain. An example of this would be in the line: ‘I have no love which this wild rain has not dissolved except the love of death.’ This suggests that he has reached a peak in depression where death is no longer a fear it is a love greater than all other. The rain (sadness) has washed away everything that was once important leaving him with a wish for death. This is further emphasised when he states ‘cannot, the temptest told me, disappoint.’ As he feels close and almost friendly with death, it cannot disappoint him like all other loves could. It is final and sure, there is nothing that could go wrong.  The poetic techniques in this poem such as the extended metaphor spoken about in the previous stanza could be compared to the extended metaphor of death a s sleep in ‘lights out’ and himself and the house in ‘gone, gone again’. It seems in a lot of Thomas’ poems when he is expressing emotion he will put that emotion or attribute onto something else in the form of these extended metaphors. This is a continual theme throughout many of his poems. There is a contrast however between the above mentioned poems in the fact that ‘rain’ does not have a consistent rhyme scheme or stanza structure whereas ‘lights out’ and gone, gone again’ do. This would suggest that Th omas thoughts when writing rain was a lot stronger making how work consistent. All of this would make it seem to me as though there is a consistent theme throughout all of his poems The poem ‘rain’ explores how Thomas feels about his own impending death an d portrays a variety of strong emotions in the form of extended metaphors and is also made clear by the structure of the poem itself. It is similar in theme and structure to many of Thomas’ other poems. He presents the experience of strong emotions clearly and in a way that makes the reader connect and tune in to those emotions.
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