Passage of Time and Loss of Childhood in Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill and William Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality
Languages of publication
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.
-  Arnold, Matthew. “Memorial Verses April 1850”. Poetry Foundation. 2015. Web. 3 February 2016. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172850>.
-  Christie, William. Dylan Thomas: A Literary Life. UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
-  Cohen, J.M. Poetry of this Age: 1908 – 1965. London: Hutchinson and Co. Ltd., 1976.
-  Cox, Roger L. “Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality”. The Explicator 19.6 (1961): 81-83.
-  Crehan, Stewart. “The Lips of Time”. Dylan Thomas: Craft or Sullen Art. Ed. Alan Bold. London: Vision Press, 1990.
-  Davies, Walford. Dylan Thomas. 2nd ed. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1990.
-  Davies, Walford. Dylan Thomas: Writers of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2014.
-  Gunton, Sharon., and Harris, Laurie Linzen. “Dylan Thomas 1914-1953”. Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Vol. 45. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. 358-359.
-  Jenkins, Jack L. “How Green Is "Fern Hill"?”. The English Journal 55. 9 (1966): 1180-1182.
-  Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment. Trans. John H. Bernard. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2007.
-  Larrissy, Edward. “Languages of modernism: William Empson, Dylan Thomas, W. S. Graham”. The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century English Poetry. Ed. Neil Corcoran. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 131-142
-  Laurentia C.S.J., Sister M. “1. Thomas’ Fern Hill”. Taylor & Francis. 26 October 2015. Web. 2 February 2016. <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00144940.1955.11481820>.
-  Macbeth, George, ed. Poetry 1900 to 1975. London: Longman, 1979.
-  Mahoney, John. William Wordsworth: A Poetic Life. New York: Fordham, 1997.
-  Meyers, Robert. “3. Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood, 52-54”.The Explicator 28.1 (1969): 4-7
-  Milne, Ira Mark, ed. Poetry for Students. Vol. 9. USA: Gale Group, 2009.
-  Morton, Richard. “Notes on the imagery of Dylan Thomas”. Taylor & Francis. 22 June 2010. Web. 23 January 2016. <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00138386208597117>.
-  Schneider, Elisabeth. “30. Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality, Line 88”. Taylor & Francis. 26 October 2015. Web. 27 January 2016. <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00144940.1947.11481294>.
-  Selby, Keith. “Hitting the right note: the potency of cheap music”. Dylan Thomas: Craft or Sullen Art. Ed. Alan Bold. London: Vision Press, 1990.89-113.
-  Thomas, Dylan. “Fern Hill”. Academy of American Poets. 1996. Web. 21 January 2016. <https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/fern-hill>.
-  Thomas, Dylan. “Poetic Manifesto” in Walford Davies (ed.), Dylan Thomas: Early Prose Writings. London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1971. 154–60.
-  Thomas, Dylan. Selected Letters of Dylan Thomas. Ed. Constantine Fitzgibbon. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1966.
-  Thorne, Sara. Mastering Poetry. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
-  Treece, Henry. Dylan Thomas: “Dog Among the Fairies”. 2nd ed. London: Ernest Benn, 1956.
-  Viswanathan, R. “Thomas's Fern Hill”. The Explicator 48.4 (1990): 285-286.
-  Wordsworth, William. “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”. Bartleby. 1993. Web. 30 January 2016: <http://www.bartleby.com/101/536.html>
Publication order reference