The Voice beyond imagery
Does this sound like you? “ I usually do not appreciate the rhymes and metres of poetry. I do not pay much attention to them. Instead I focus on the images and contents. “ Good News: The Voice will open a whole new world of what’s so cool about poetry
Formalised Feeling However you wish to define poetry, you will also have to take into account its form – the order and shape of expression. Unlike a novel, the line-breaks in a poem are extremely important. The rhymes are significant, both in their presence and absence. If a rhyming pattern is broken, that may well tell us something significant.
The Importance of Sound Sound, in its many forms, is vital to all poets and poems. The musical quality of poetry is one aspect that differentiates it from other forms of writing. To be able to discuss sound is one of the more difficult, and also one of the more important aspects of writing accurately about poetry.
Sounds are often used to evoke a sense of the idea that the poem/line is dealing with. For example, a line such as, “The serpent slithered through the mossy ways” uses sibilance to mirror the subtle movements of the snake. Even though the following line means the same, it does not achieve this same effect: “The snake went through the grass”
The Sound Scale Place each letter of the alphabet along the Sound Scale: Coarse &Jagged Soft & Smooth
Rhythm in The Voice • Much of the impact and emotion in The Voice comes from the complex way Thomas Hardy has used rhythm in the poem. • The changes in rhythm in the poem mirror the poet’s changing emotions. How do you explain and explore rhythm? First you need to get a little technical vocabulary.
GOOD NEWS These are terms you do NOT need to know Dactylic Iambic Four-footed line Tetrameter Trimeter Three-footed line Iamb Trochaic Trochees
This the Vocabulary you need • Rhythm: The movement or sense of movement communicated by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables. Rhythm refers to the how one speaks the line. Often, choices of stress and unstress may need to be made. • Metre: The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in verse. • Stress: Accented (or emphasised) syllables in a line of poetry.
All the King’s Horses... • This nursery rhyme uses the same metrical pattern (or pattern of stresses) as the first stanzas in The Voice. • TUMtataTUMtata • All the king’s horsesand all the king’s men... • Clap the stresses. Can you hear the metre? • How would you describe the rhythm?
Let’s look again at The Voice • Remembering TUM tatais the same pattern for the start of The Voice can you clap the rhythm? Work this out with a partner. NB: The Voice has a fairly regular TUM tata pattern in the first three stanzas but it is not completely regular.
Identifying the Stresses • Work together with A3 copies of the poem: Identify the stresses – develop your appreciation of the rhythm in the poem by working out the stresses of the first three stanzas using the following symbols. Start the pattern again at the beginning of each line. / = stressed syllable u= unstressed syllable • Stuck? • Remember The Voice has a fairly regular TUM tata or / uu pattern in the first three stanzas. • Also remember to start each new line with a TUM or / • You could also try this - scan a line mark the natural stresses on the polysyllabic words. • Then mark the monosyllabic nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that are normally stressed • Then fill in the rest with unstress or u Which words are stressed? Does the tone change between stanzas? How does the rhythm contribute to the tone?
Which words are stressed? Read the first three stanzas aloud . Let the yellow highlights guide you but do not over stress them. Then read the final stanza aloud. Do you agree with the stresses highlighted in the final stanza? Could there be an alternative? Why has Hardy made the metrical pattern in the final stanza so different and tricky? The Voice Thomas Hardy Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me, Saying that now you are not as you were When you had changed from the one who was all to me, But as at first, when our day was fair. Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then, 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! Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness Travelling across the wet mead to me here, You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness, Heard no more again far or near? Thus I; faltering forward, Leaves around me falling, Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward, And the woman calling.
Questions – Stanza 1 • 1. Whose point-of –view do we see? • 2. Who has been “talking” in this stanza? • 3.What have they been saying? • 3. Describe the tone of the stanza. • 4. What effect does the metre in the stanza have on the tone?
Questions – Stanza 2 • Stanza 2 • 1. How would you read aloud the question which opens the stanza? • 2. How does the poet communicate his eagerness to bring back the memory of his wife when she was younger, as he wants to remember her? • 3. Explain the significance of the individual words and punctuation in the last line in the stanza. • 4.Describe the tone of the stanza. Do you think it has lifted or is heavier than the tone in stanza 1?
Questions – Stanza 3 • 1. Describe the poet’s mood in this stanza. • 2. Explain how the poet’s mood has changed and why it has changed. • 3. What does the image of the breeze mean? • 4. Rewrite in your own words what line 3 means. • 5. How are the poet’s feelings and the tone of stanza 3 communicated so strongly?
Questions- Stanza 4 • 1. How is the layout of the last stanza different? • 2. What visual image is created by this? • 3. Describe the poet’s emotional state in this stanza and the stanza’s tone. • 4. Explain how this is reinforced by the changes in the poem’s rhythm. • 5. What does the very last line of the poem suggest? Does it connect to elsewhere in the poem?
Memory and Emotion • Think about the emotions that memory can evoke. For instance: • If you try hard to remember something and your memories elude you. • If you remember you haven’t treated some one well. • When a memory seems to come from your heart rather than from your head. • Write a paragraph exploring the power of Thomas’ memories for Emma. • Consider the finality of bereavement. Think about when memories mix with other emotions how they may feel stronger than the original emotion. How does guilt for unkindness that can now never be undone, and memory combine? What sense of loss would an aging man feel at the memory of the young woman and the young man who had once been in love? How do memory and regrets about marital estrangement combine?