Date Submitted: Monday, January 19, 2015
Student Name: Janice Ryner
Student’s NSU ID#: N00670270
Student’s Email Address: Janice.firstname.lastname@example.org
Student’s Home Address: 9050 NW 28th Street, Unit 133, Coral Springs, FL 33065
Phone Number: (954) 319-7313
Course: ENG 675: 20th Century British Literature
Assignment #: 1
Assignment Title or Description: Reading Response #1
Course Instructor: Dr. Maureen McDermott
I, Janice Ryner, attest that the following work is my original work.
Analysis of Morbid Obsessions
Nova Southeastern University
Analysis of Morbid Obsessions
Thomas Hardy, Stevie Smith and Dylan Thomas present themes in their writing that consist of life, death, and sorrow. These authors were known for their use of a variety of literary elements that, in some ways, deflect the reader away from the serious subject of morality while revealing underlying issues within society.
Thomas Hardy’s Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave (1912) presents a deceased woman who is having a conversation with whoever is digging on her grave. This is a poem that opens one up to imagery and multiple interpretations. The poem opens mysteriously with the opening statement of Ah, are you digging on my grave? This then prompts the reader to question themselves. Who is digging on the grave? Is the person that is asking actually in the grave? Is this a vision of an after-life experience? All of this draws the reader into the poem while they are trying to figure out who is digging on the grave. Hardy continues to write in an anonymous voice while incorporating direct satire according to Barton & Hudson, 2011; which states that the author utilizes first person to correct behavior with the use of humor.
The woman in the grave’s tone stem from a suspicious point of view as she questions all those who should be there to show love for her. The paradox presented begins as she starts her quest with romantic love. She suspected her loved one of planting rue on her gravesite as the reason for the disturbance. Although, there is an underlying meaning with the presence of rue being referenced. Rue is a yellow-flowered herb and it is indicative of sorrow. Ironically, the sorrow was supposed to be emitting from the woman’s loved one, however after the woman realizes that her loved one already married another and was without regret which turned the irony into tragic irony due to her being mistaken. There is a bitter contrast between the rue and flowers that are usually placed at a gravesite. The loved one would not be inclined to leave beautiful flowers signifying love for the woman lost; instead the rue being planted signifies the bitter end to their relationship with his vow to another wealthy woman.
The woman then turned to familial love. She questions if it could be her nearest kin. It seems as though Hardy was attempting to write an elegy because the woman spoke as if her kin should be lamenting her death. Again, she sadly had an epiphany when she discovered that there would be no use for her family to plant any flowers in her memory when it will not raise her from the grave. Continuing on, the woman refers to a possible enemy that she may have had when she was living, then she realized that her enemy did not give her another thought since she became the dearly departed. As a final character is presented, the woman learns that the antagonist is her little dog. As her heart warms, she speaks about how a human heart cannot be as faithful as man’s best friend. Although, once again, she was mistaken to learn that the little dog merely placed a bone in the ground, not even noticing that it was his owner’s grave. The plot seemed to take a dramatic turn as the climax sheds light the fact that death is not something that is treasured by humans and animals alike. I believe that Hardy wrote the climax by presenting