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Passage of Time and Loss of Childhood in Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill and William Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality

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Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) is one of the greatest twentieth century poets, who composed poetry in English. His passionate emotions and his personal, lyrical writing style make him be alike the Romantic poets than the poets of his era. Much of Thomas’s works were influenced by his early experiences and contacts with the natural world, especially his famous poem, Fern Hill. This paper aims to compare Thomas’s Fern Hill with Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality to illustrate the poets’ different attitudes towards time and childhood. In Fern Hill, Thomas’s attitude towards childhood changes from one of happiness and satisfaction to grief and loss of innocence and carefreeness. Thomas believes that Time seems like a hero to a child and allows him to be innocent and carefree; but as the child grows older and loses his childhood, he considers Time as a villain who imprisons him and does not let him enjoy life anymore and robes his childhood’s blessings and treasures. Conversely, Wordsworth in his Ode: Intimations of Immortality expressed his belief that although Time has taken his childhood creativity and imagination, but matured his thought and reason and given him insight and experience in exchange. Therefore, although Thomas and Wordsworth are both mournful at the loss of the childhood and its blessings, Wordsworth appreciates the adulthood insight, knowledge, experience, and philosophical mind. So, apparently Wordsworth’s poem is more inspiring and hopeful than Thomas’s in which he accepted being aged regretfully of his childhood, while Wordsworth’s poem enlightens the readers on how to feel happy and grateful of the rewards of adulthood.
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  • Department of English Language and Literature, University of Tehran, Iran
  • Department of English Language and Literature, University of Semnan, Iran
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