Examine the Theme of 'Memory' in Old Man Essay

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Examine the theme of ‘Memory’ in Old Man. Old Man was first written on 11th November 1914, and edited in December 1914. In it, he effectively portrays the fragmented nature of life and memory in relation to his feelings of entrapment and growing frustrations. The title of the poem is significant when exploring the theme of ‘memory’. It is repeated in the first line of the poem, though it can be referred to as both ‘Lad’s-Love’ and ‘Old Man’. The seeming contrast here could be referring to himself. It has connotations of him being an older man in the army at the time. The choice to use the folk name rather than Artemisia abrotanum alludes to his childhood years and perhaps a yearning to return to when life was simpler. The use of this nomenclature also alludes to Thomas’ love of names, further echoes in the ending line of the stanza ‘and yet I like the names’. The name here is said to ‘half decorate, half perplex’ which could further allude to his memories, perplexing and being vacuous. Therefore the use of nomenclature here can be referred to in passing as it appears to be used as an aside, distracting Thomas from his original topic of writing. The original writing topic can be viewed here in the volta of the poem ‘Forbidding her to pick. As for myself,’ which also happen to be the two shortest lines in the poem, emphasising the shift in tone. Also in Old Man, there is a semantic field of path and door imagery including ‘door-side bush’ and ‘at last onto the path’. These can be symbolic for Thomas’ journey through life and ultimately in his reminiscing. However, the periodic references to the door imagery and pathways soon turn darker in tone and become ‘a bent path to a door’ with a ‘low thick bush beside the door’ alluding to his confusion, and inability to find his way back, and possibly his inability to remember. The door imagery here also appears to

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