Thomas Hardy’s Poem “Hap" Essay

2224 words - 9 pages

Thomas Hardy’s poem “Hap"

Poetry is ultimately defined as a major literary genre. How boring that is for such a beautiful literary form. I believe that poetry is a genre devoted to art, complexity, and precision. All in which the poet does more than just writing; he or she takes that which is indescribable and finds words for it through poetry. Granted, this leaves poetry vastly open to interpretation. After all, each and every poet expresses him or herself in a different way; with different meter, rhyme, mood, and meaning. Leaving one poem practically unlike any other, like a snowflake. This is poetry, and this is also why poetry is so hard to analyze.

Every person that has read and analyzed a poem has been left wondering what the author of the poem had intended by it. Often there is room for more than one interpretation, so many are often left wondering if they correctly interpreted a poem. Several arguments could be left unfinished with the phrase, “Well, how do you know? Did the author of the poem tell you? In which the answer is, with rare exceptions, no. Authors leave clues in, in between, and all throughout their poems. That’s part of the art. They don’t just tell the readers what the poem means. That would take away from it. Instead, the reader must keep in mind that everything is in a poem for a reason. The author may not come out and say what a poem is about, but he or she will leave enough information in the poem for someone dedicated enough to find. I intend to devote such a dedication to Thomas Hardy’s poem “Hap,” in order to analyze, and hopefully, understand this poem through a process.
Perhaps the first and most obvious step would be to read the poem. Just read it. As in: begin reading and don’t stop, feel the poem rather than understand it, and try reading the poem aloud rather than just looking at the page. The first time I read “Hap,” I liked it. I, by no means, understood what it was trying to tell me, but I got a feel for the meaning without actually understanding it. During the first read of a poem, the reader will most likely notice that specific words or combination of words jump out at them. Meaning, certain words or phrases have more significance to them than the rest of the poem. Hardy even uses capitalization throughout the piece, which definitely gives the words, that are unconventionally capitalized, more emphasis. For example, in “Hap” I immediately was affected by the word ‘vengeful,’ from the first line: “If but some vengeful god would call to me.” Such emphasis gave me a feel for the tone/ mood of the poem.

This poem tends to have two different tones, split between the stanzas. Within the first two stanzas I feel the tone is a strong negative passion. I cannot help but read the poem with tension and articulation in my voice. Heavily influenced by the word ‘vengeful’ being in the first line, but later reinforced with things like: “suffering thing,” “sorrow is my ecstasy,” “hate,” “die,”...

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