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Analysing Thomas Hardys The Workbox English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1120 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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“Poetry is emotion put into measure. The emotion must come by nature, but the measure can be acquired by art. My opinion is that a poet should express the emotion of all the ages and he thought of his own” (1899, Thomas Hardy).

You will never say that Thomas Hardy’s poems are only mundane waste of ink. Reading the poem you understand things you have never thought about before. However, what do people think? Did all of them recognize the same the author did? Each of us should answer this question by own. Years passed but plays, novels on the theme, which Hardy talked about, are still writing, and films are still shooting, why? There are things, which we remember, and things, which we cannot forget. Whether this is good or bad is up for opinion. I read “Workbox” by Hardy and I understood how good it is for arguing about. The characters appeared to be convincing and incredibly original, so I was going through with the heroes of the Hardy’s poem. Although it is really hard to depict all the characters and feelings you want in the poem that can be short. It is worth of attention, as I will prove it through this paper. So, let me begin to explain.

What the poem leaves unsaid?

All standpoints about these books are contradictory and varied. Talking about the poem I should mention that it has many sides that show all its directions and themes. The point is that the purpose of the essay is to show the things, which were not said by Hardy in his poem. Thus, let me leave this paragraph to start a new one, where the main question will be answered.

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It is mentioned through the source, that the Workbox’s hidden meaning does not become clear instantly nor when it does, does it significantly. Hardy tells of a man who is a coffin maker and makes a sewing box for his ‘little wife’ using some leftovers from a coffin made for a man called John Wayward. The moment the name Wayward is mentioned you can tell that the poem will have numerous messages built into it as it implies being off the straight and narrow (2010, pg 1, ). Although the plot of the poem has core focus on the death, wife’s words (when she gets the box) are seemed to be rather ironic:

“Twill last all my sewing years!” (2010, pg 1, )

In addition, the story tells us many thoughts without words. Some words should be understood in the opposite way (not in the usual and habitual way of thinking). The problems, which are highlighted in this significant project, have worried society for many years and the lightest minds of humanity were solving them. In order not to lost in thoughts they summarized, analyzed and put in some order all the information they have had. Reading the play you understand things you have never thought about before. Someone can understand the plot of the poem in such way: the wife of a main character came from a different town, where she loved John Wayward. Her husband killed John because of rage, anger and jealousy. Then he made a wooden box as a gift for her, thus, this box reminded her about the great love to John Wayward that did not die, but always will exist. The ending of the story tells it clearly. Another one can understand in the other direct: wife was in love with John Wayward; she waited, but then moved the city, where she married a new guy. Next John Wayward dies. Her husband brought her a box made from the same material as the John Wayward’s grave. Thus, the ending depicts that this box will always remind her that she killed a man she loved. This situation is not said through the poem, so that the reader may imagine and understand as he or she wants.

“See, here’s the workbox, little wife,

That I made of polished oak.’

He was a joiner, of village life;

She came of borough folk” (2010, pg 1, )- these stanzas show how beautiful is the romantic and tender moment between a husband and wife (who are happy in their marriage). But next stanzas obviously depict irony. It must be mentioned that the “Workbox” differs from other Hardy’s poems because mainly the direct speech is used in poem. Further still, this poem depict that love is not always an everlasting thing and it is likely to hit problems. It is ambiguous, involving, thrilling. The words unsaid and the message (which poem contains) is obviously revealed in the last stanza of the poem. Love is an uncertain thing, which often is not what it is expected to be.

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One more thing unsaid is that the husband of the main character made a box, which was came from the same tree as the coffin of wife’s lover – John Wayward. Her husband told her that the wood of the box was a remnant of the coffin of her lover, John Wayward and that he labored on that box. While he tells that his wife becomes upset. It means that she knew John Wayward, but she denies it. Finally, husband realizes that she was upset just because of her sewing box was made from the same wood as John Wayward’s coffin was made of.

“Yet her lips were limp and wan,

Her face still held aside,

As if she had known not only John,

But known of what he died” (2010, pg 1, )- these words show that wife knew about John Wayward more then she wanted to talk about with her husband. Hardy leaves the place for the reader’s imagination through the poem. Wife tries to make her husband believe that she did not know that man. But her eyes, language of body, expression – everything show that she knows more then she wants to say. The author shows the huge connectivity between two worlds: life and death. Hardy depicts this connection using the symbol of the timber that has components, which show death and life respectively.

I am not disappointed that I have read this poem. I am sure you will not be too. It can generally be said that this novel impressed me. It triggered many thoughts in my mind. It is hard to understand them to people, who have never faced these situations. Do they teach us something? It cannot definitely be said. To sum up, reading this poem is not mortifying thing, it is not just wasting the time. Two people who have to live together both now the truth: there is a third man (even despite his death) who will be always in the heart of wife and husband’s mind. It is not said directly in poem but it appears from the above.


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