Analysis of The Shadow on the Stone: [Essay Example], 902 words GradesFixer
exit-popup-close

Haven't found the right essay?

Get an expert to write your essay!

exit-popup-print

Professional writers and researchers

exit-popup-quotes

Sources and citation are provided

exit-popup-clock

3 hour delivery

exit-popup-persone
close
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

The Shadow on the Stone: Great Poetry Analyzed

Download Print

Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you.

Any subject. Any type of essay.

We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.

Get your price

121 writers online

blank-ico
Download PDF

Thomas Hardy wrote “The Shadow on the Stone” after his wife’s death, and the ghost he mentions is his wife’s. The poem focuses on the realities of time and death. The poet’s feelings are complex, which is reflected in the complex rhyme scheme of the poem. The title shows us how Emma has always been like a shadow for Hardy. When she was alive, she followed him and now that she’s dead, according to Greek mythology, her soul has become a shadow. The stone in the poem is white as opposed to the black color of a shadow. Black may symbolize the evil way Emma was treated during the last years of her life.

For convenience, I will analyze this poem stanza by stanza.

I went by the Druid stone

That broods in the garden white and lone,

And I stopped and looked at the shifting shadows

That at some moments fall thereon

From the tree hard by with a rhythmic swing,

And they shaped in my imagining

To the shade that a well-known head and shoulders

Threw there when she was gardening.

A druid stone is a mystical stone of intuition and physic wisdom. Another definition of Druid Stone is a stone made by the ancient Druids. Both these definitions apply to the poem as we will later see. The stone is a representation of Hardy. He broods (or thinks) a lot on Emma’s death, which is why he writes poems. Moreover, he is a man of talent and skill and according to his fans-flawless. The color white is often connected to flawlessness or perfection. Apart from that, white also symbioses purity. It may reflect hardy’s desire to be pure or clean his soul of the sins he has committed by neglecting his wife when she needed him the most. The stone, although beautiful and full of powers, is alone – a metaphor for Hardy.

The alliteration in line three suggests a sense of peacefulness and calmness. It’s as if everything is quiet when Hardy observes the garden. The shadows were probably formed by the trees behind Hardy. It’s ironic how he describes the shadow so bluntly and in only one line as if he’s been numbed. Perhaps it pains him to talk about his wife and describe her as if she was alive, or maybe he didn’t want to get his hopes up as he knows it’s only the trees.

I thought her behind my back,

Yea, her I long had learned to lack,

And I said: ‘I am sure you are standing behind me,

Though how do you get into this old track?’

And there was no sound but the fall of a leaf

As a sad response; and to keep down grief

I would not turn my head to discover

That there was nothing in my belief.

The key words in this stanza are ‘thought’ and ‘sure’. He knows it’s only an illusion and yet still says he’s sure she’s standing there. The second line suggests he’s already used to the fact that she’s dead, explaining the numbness in the previous stanza. Hardy’s question is answered by the one thing that always had his back: Nature. Generally, only dead leaves fall of trees. Nature sends a message to Hardy that his wife is dead. This also shows that the place was alive when Emma was alive and now that she’s dead, so is the place. It is safe to assume that the season is autumn as leaves are falling. Autumn is the season of death and misery, setting up an excellent atmosphere for the poem. The last lines present the dilemma of the poem: He knows it’s not Emma, yet doesn’t want to turn around and confirm that fact. Maybe he wants to live in a delusion that Emma is there, watching over her. He probably doesn’t have the strength to face reality.

Yet I wanted to look and see

That nobody stood at the back of me;

But I thought once more: ‘Nay, I’ll not unvision

A shape which, somehow, there may be.’

So I went on softly from the glade,

And left her behind me throwing her shade,

As she were indeed an apparition—

My head unturned lest my dream should fade.

However, he wanted to turn around and see, face reality like a man. But then, decides against it. Hardy’s contradictory and complex feelings can be seen here. He is arguing with himself whether to check or not. In the end he finally decides not to look. The word ‘unvision’ is created by Hardy to describe a new feeling. He thought that there is no word in the English language to describe how he feels. Unvision may mean destroying an illusion. When he leaves her behind him throwing her shade, Hardy imitates his wife as she also went slowly, leaving Hardy behind. The hyphen after apparition describes a pause to think. She’s indeed an illusion, he thinks (or is she?). The thought of the shadow being a ghost crosses his mind again. In the end, he finally admits that this wasn’t real by giving it the word ‘dream’.

The sound effects in the last line are worth noting. The harsh ‘d’ sound suggests that the poet is hardening. He is trying to be strong but just can’t gather up the strength to turn around.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

100% plagiarism free

Sources and citations are provided

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

GradesFixer. (2018). Analysis of The Shadow on the Stone. Retrived from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-the-shadow-on-the-stone/
GradesFixer. "Analysis of The Shadow on the Stone." GradesFixer, 28 May. 2018, https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-the-shadow-on-the-stone/
GradesFixer, 2018. Analysis of The Shadow on the Stone. [online] Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-the-shadow-on-the-stone/> [Accessed 5 August 2020].
GradesFixer. Analysis of The Shadow on the Stone [Internet]. GradesFixer; 2018 [cited 2018 May 28]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-the-shadow-on-the-stone/
copy to clipboard
close

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

    By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

    close

    Attention! this essay is not unique. You can get 100% plagiarism FREE essay in 30sec

    Recieve 100% plagiarism-Free paper just for 4.99$ on email
    get unique paper
    *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
    download public sample
    close

    Sorry, we cannot unicalize this essay. You can order Unique paper and our professionals Rewrite it for you

    close

    Thanks!

    Your essay sample has been sent.

    Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

    thanks-icon Order now
    boy

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Having trouble finding the perfect essay? We’ve got you covered. Hire a writer

    GradesFixer.com uses cookies. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.