But these things also

joti Zandu
Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

Mind Map on But these things also, created by joti Zandu on 04/18/2014.

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joti Zandu
Created by joti Zandu over 5 years ago
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But these things also
1 Thomas wrote this poem in 1915, during the second year of World War One.
2 But these things also are Spring's--- On banks by the roadside the grass Long-dead that is greyer now Than all the Winter it was;
2.1 By seemingly starting in the middle of a sentence (‘But’) it is as if the poet has implicitly (and complicitly) agreed with his reader that Spring represents certain aspects and qualities. These aspects are those of Romantic poetry where Spring embodies life, rebirth, beauty and vitality . The poem argues that there are other, less vital and positive features of Spring which belong equally to the season, and also that Spring may co-exist with Winter. As with other Thomas poems, the seasons also represent an emotional state within the poet. In the first stanza Thomas observes that, though it is early Spring (which, when nature is re-energised should be brighter), the grass is actually ‘greyer’. After a period of abeyance (in nature or in human nature) it is difficult to come back to life.
2.2 metaphor
3 The shell of a little snail bleached In the grass; chip of flint, and mite Of chalk; and the small birds' dung In splashes of purest white:
3.1 alliteration
3.2 In a series of sharply observed diminutives (‘little snail’, ‘chip’, ‘mite’, ‘small birds’) Thomas lists tiny visual signs of Spring which are neither conventionally beautiful nor vigorous. Indeed, there is much that is associated with death and absence: the snail-shell is empty of its living tenant and the house is ‘bleached’ of colour and life; the chalk-mite is washed-out and the birds’ ‘dung’ or waste-product is in evidence instead of the singing, breeding bird itself. References to ‘white’ signal a metaphorical association with death (Romantic poet, William Blake, used the colour white to symbolise death & emotional bleakness). Nevertheless, the sharpness of Thomas’ forensic attention to the details of nature is compelling in itself and, for him, though melancholy, the white is ‘pur[e]’. The message is that, though unconventional and bleak, the other signs of Spring (‘these things also’) are important. If the early Spring is a metaphor for the poet’s emotional state he is argu
4 All the white things a man mistakes For earliest violets Who seeks through Winter's ruins Something to pay Winter's debts,
4.1 Personification
4.2 Vividly employing personification, the poet suggests that ‘a man’ looks forward to Spring and hopes that the season will compensate him for the miseries of winter. But man is self deceiving and ‘mistakes’ the lesser and more negative signs of Spring (hard ‘flint’, bird’s ‘dung’) for ‘violets’, the dazzling purple-scented harbingers of the season. Interpreted in an emotional sense, Thomas is perhaps commenting on mankind’s capacity for self-deception; his (possibly misguided) belief in hope and optimism and his lack of reconcilement with the bleak, emotionally draining and negative side of life.
5 While the North blows, and starling flocks By chattering on and on Keep their spirits up in the mist, And Spring's here, Winter's not gone.
5.1 personification
5.2 The final stanza presents the qualities of Winter and of Spring as simultaneously present, as perhaps they are in human nature where hope and despair can coexist, and for a melancholic poet like Thomas necessarily chime together as a source of creative inspiration and energy. In early Spring the wind still hails from Northern Arctic regions (representing also an emotional coldness) and, at the same time, the starlings, returned from hot climates, ‘chatter... On and on’ instinctively, reminding us of the inevitability and immutability of the return to warmth and life. Even though ‘chattering on and on’ does not sound as attractive as Spring birdsong is conventionally portrayed in Romantic poetry, Thomas’ reference to the birds’ persistent sound reminds us that nature is an unstoppable force which will always ‘keep...spirits up’. The final startling use of a balanced sentence ‘And Spring’s here, Winter’s not gone’ reinforces the message of the co-existence of the positive and ne
6 Structure/Form - 4 x 4-line stanzas Lines roughly 7 syllables, some longer Variety of rhythm ‘Ballad’ rhyme-scheme: abcb, Third Person
7 Tone/Mood - Melancholy, Solemn/Reflective, Observant

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