How Does Hardy Explore Themes of Loss in 'the Voice'?

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‘The Voice’ by Thomas Hardy portrays the aftermath of the death of Hardy’s wife, Emma. Whilst they were in love, they became estranged in the later years of their marriage until her death. In this poem, Hardy explores feelings of his loss in a wistful and nostalgic manner. He shows his frustration in being unable to communicate with Emma, and paints her as both real and insubstantial, both in life and in death. Even the landscape described in the poem reflects his loss. I find that Hardy creates very vivid imagery and sounds which make for an involving poem that causes a reader to sympathise for him. The idea of communication, or lack thereof, between Hardy and his departed wife in this poem is key in his representation of grief and loss. Right from the first line, Hardy hears her ‘call to me’. The specific use of the words ‘to me’ make the communication seem one-sided; he is unable to reply. There is a sense of frustration in his hearing her voice, and yet not responding. The repetition of that phrase immediately after creates the effect of an echo, furthering the idea that she is not truly present, only her memory is. Hardy uses the long vowel sound in the word call twice to draw out and lengthen the line, showing the reader how her voice torments him and he cannot let go of her memory. Throughout the poem there is a gap in their communication until the final line, where again Hardy references ‘the woman calling’. With the circularity in the structure of this poem, Hardy shows the reader that no matter what he does he can’t forget Emma, nor will she return- his worrying leads nowhere, and he cannot move forward. There is also a sense of finality in Hardy’s use of ‘and’ before this last line, a dark feeling of the sudden reality of death. In this way, Hardy explores the natural, initial disbelief and shock of loss. It is important to note that Hardy always calls
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