Youthful Nostalgia in Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill

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Thomass Youthful Nostalgia in Fern Hill In Fern Hill Dylan Thomas deals with the age-old dilemma of growing up.

Thomass youthful, carefree outlook is expressed through his description of the farm where he spent his youth. The poet uses nine six-line stanzas to illustrate the naivet he experienced when he was a boy. Thomas, now a grown man, can tell his readers in retrospect about his youthful ignorance regarding the process of time. In the first stanza the reader is introduced to life through young Thomass eyes.

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He uses personification to describe the house as lilting (2). As the boy frolics through the yard, it seems to him that the house is springing and moving. This introduces the boys acceptance of his own interpretation of life. His mind is untainted by the outside world. He goes on to use assonance to ask time to let him hail and climb (4). He wishes time to let him stay the way he is. Thomas uses the words honored, prince and lordly to describe his feeling of faith and hope in his own potential greatness (6-7).

In Stanza two, we first see the word green that is repeated many times in this poem. This word is used as a metaphor for youthfulness. Thomas uses assonance to open the second stanza with the words green and carefree (10). Time is personified when Thomas asks it to let him remain young and naive, even though the sun is young once only (12). Thomas chooses to remain ignorant to the workings of time and the immortality of the world. The word green is repeated along with the word golden, both words stressing his youthfulness (15). Thomas uses alliteration to express his ability to be anything he wants whether it be a huntsman or herdsman (15). Stanza three describes nightfall on the farm. Again, the word green is used in line twenty-three to reiterate a carefree, simple ideal. Thomas uses the hay stacks as a metaphor for the boys youthful hope. The hay fields high as the house describes the boys optimism. Thomass description of the stars as being simple mirrors the poets ignorance of the world. Thomas is unaware of the tremendous complexity of the stars, not being able to grasp the immensity of the sky just as he is ignorant to the complexity of the world and of the process of time. In Stanza four, Thomas describes the morning on the farm as being a rebirth and a new beginning for everything. His describes this rebirth with alliterations choosing the words wandering white with the dew to continue with is theme of color to describe youth. Thomas compares the morning on the farm to the beginning of the world as written in the Bible in Genesis.

Stanza five emphasizes the poets ignorance. He does not understand that his life is finite. He believes he will be born again every morning along with the sun. The hay stack metaphor is repeated to stress his naive outlook. Stanza six repeats his carefree attitude towards his own immortality. He cares so little about it that he does not take the time to understand it. As a grown man, Thomas can now see that all the while, time had been working its way even though he was oblivious to it. Everyday he was brought further and further to his death even though he was living a life of carelessness, ignorance and bliss. He knows now that his time as a boy was limited, and the time can never be regained.

Although a natural reaction to the authors retrospection would be regret for not knowing that he had only a limited time to enjoy himself, the poet does not express a feeling of regret. Although nostalgia is prevalent, the author does not seem to want to change anything about the way he lived his youth. Thomas seems to be glad that he did not understand that his youth was limited because it would had tainted his happiness.

Although the readers childhood experience may not have been spent on a farm, familiar metaphors of nature make it possible for readers of all backgrounds to relate to the theme of this poem. Thomas successfully instills a sense of appreciation for the time spent in youth, and a feeling of nostalgia for the days of youthful bliss lost in the process of time.

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