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Ambiguity In Emily Bronte's 'Remembrance'

Decent Essays
In the poem “Remembrance,” Emily Bronte writes about a person who mourns the death of a loved one. Since no names are explicitly given, however, ambiguity surrounds the identity of the speaker and loved one. One interpretation is that the persona is Bronte herself, having lost her mother and sisters at a young age. Another interpretation is that the persona is simply a figure through which Bronte expresses the general experiences of love, loss, and memory. However, after reading the poem, it is hard to imagine someone crafting such a powerful piece without having personally experienced something similar. Nevertheless, throughout the poem, the speaker experiences tension between letting go of and holding onto memories of the past, as shown through…show more content…
After rereading the poem, the anaphora seems to also function as a reminder to the speaker about the reality of the situation. In the first stanza, “Cold in the earth” seems to merely indicate that the beloved is dead and buried. In the second stanza, the speaker’s mind wanders back to the thoughts of the loved one, wondering if her sentiments reach him. However, the third stanza suddenly returns back to “Cold in the earth...” (9), reiterating the unchanging status of the beloved’s dead existence. Thus, the anaphora serves as a strong reminder to the speaker that who she is yearning for is no longer amongst the living, and consequently, longing for that person “fifteen wild Decembers” (9), is…show more content…
In the first half of the poem, the speaker mainly seems to be in mourning. However, in the sixth stanza, the speaker suddenly shifts her tone, focusing on how she has grown from the painful experience. In fact, the speaker claims to have learned to appreciate life “without the aid of joy” (24), which suggests a greater will to live and be present mentally and physically. Despite her claims, however, in the final stanza, the speaker acknowledges the “rapturous pain” of remembering and ends the poem with a rhetorical question: “How could I seek the empty world again?” (32). This question seems to resolve the tension between forgetting and remembering by insinuating that she would rather live with the memories of the past, where she finds
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