Critical Appreciation of the poem Rain by Edward Thomas

So this is a lecture on Edward Thomas's poem Rain. The first thing to note about this poem is that it's really common for students to consider this poem to be written from the trenches. Obviously, the kind of classic image of soldiers in the trenches being soaked by rain and the kind of nihilistic feel to this poem definitely backs up. However what's really important to note is that it was written in England in January 1916 so after Thomas signed up and had gone through his training but he was waiting to be posted in France. So it was written with an apprehension about what he might face when he gets there trenches and also the connection between the rain at home and the rain that his fellow countrymen might be feeling in the trenches. It should be noted that he didn't need to join up he was 37 when he enlisted and he was too old to have been forced into joining up but he it was a voluntary join up because he wanted to fight for his country. He wasn't the kind of patriotic jingoist that we sometimes see at that time it wasn't out of guilt or hatred for the Kaiser or anything like this it was more a sense of protection for his beloved rural a deal of England. He saw England very much as a country of farmers and encouraging natural growth and but in particular motif that we see running through his poems though not so much in this poem also it might be worth having a look at Robert Frost who was a good friend of Edward Thomas's certainly a massive influence and encouraged him to write. Thomas was very prolific he wrote a hundred of fifty poems in two years before he before he died in the trenches.

Rain by Edward Thomas

So let's have a look at this poem "Rain" then first thing that I really want to say about his poem is the it only has one full stop after the first six lines we have a four stop and then we don't stop again until the end of the poem and it's worth considering how that links to the idea of rain and why Thomas has done that why he has this kind of outpouring almost. I'm going to break the poem into two halves using that foot Stoppers as our counter. The first half the first obvious thing about this poem is the repetition of the word rain so obviously rain midnight rain nothing but the wild rain and we've we've got this kind of triplet going on with repetition of the word rain and then it disappears we don't see the rain anymore and the kind of alliterative remembering that we see later I'm not sure if that's supposed to ironic help us remember the rain is what this poem is about. I might be worth having to think about that the other thing is that Thomas qualifies his nouns rain with midnight and wild and I don't know that those two things are necessarily synonymous with one another midnight being a time of traditionally peace maybe something scary and obviously wild wilderness almost been something which we don't expect to come at the end of every day which isn't predictable and something oxymoronic about that so again why is Thomas done this. He ought to use a sibilance towards the end of this section since solitude and again this is where the sounds in this poem are fantastic helping us imagine more he's trying to get across about the rain of its very simplest these sounds could be the sound of the rainstorm but it is worth considering what else they might be there to do what else they meant to make us fill. Note that Thomas actually talks about never hear the rain remember and again that I shall die and never hear the rain and he almost gives us the sounds of the rain to kind of let us know what we would be missing out of when we die worth consider him. Interesting since I was born into this solitude what does Thomas mean by that born into solitude Thomas has you know been brought up to Welsh parents in London but a big love of nature have quite successful academic career attended Oxford University. He was a journalist a critic before he was a poet is a happily married. You know he has a son and two daughters he's a family man. One of those never really literary hit he definitely had success in that sense. So this solitude worth considering what does he mean by this solitude.

As we move into the second off the poem it name becomes apparent this is almost a deluge of imagery about the rain and he starts now to almost become prophetic or biblical. The blessed are the dead it could have been lifted from the Sermon on the Mount a real piece of kind of biblical imagery there and this religious theme continues in the next line he says here I pray and again we wonder over the rain is something which is sanctifying something which is used to almost beatify the soldiers and wonder what Thomas is doing here is very basic level rain is a blessing of course because it allows things to grow and in that sense water is life-giving. However, paradoxically to that, we see rain in the trenches or maybe perhaps he sees rain and the trench have been something which soldiers really don't want to put up with. Interesting just at the end of this first light of this second section bless another dead that the rain rains upon that repetition again and his choice of the verb rains and he could have rain falls upon or rain pours upon but he chose rain and I want us just to think about that I don't know ever he's trying to play on the word rain or what have you considering why he's doing that so my worth to him. A little bit further down he prays that no one that he loved this is line or narrow listen to the rain and then he talks about Eva in pain or in sympathy helpless among the living and the dead this, of course, is quite often seen as been a direct reference to soldiers in the trenches doesn't necessarily have to be that but it is it is that is his most obvious reference but there's a connection there he was born solitary and the soldier is solitary too so he definitely feels a connection with that kind of no one that none he talks about maybe that's the reference the unknown soldier. I'm not sure that is worth having to think about he compares the living in the dead as though as though they are separate but together and that's worth considering as well in nature because this poem kind of deals is paradoxical. The paradoxical element of nature and that it's something which is both life-giving and quite gloomy really. We see this natural imagery further on when we talk about broken reeds and about a tempest which is a tempest can be a beautiful thing to watch but it can also be a force of destruction this is something which runs through literature all the time. We see it in Blake we see in Lear we see it in Webster so here we have Edward Thomas using in his poetry. Here one of four I wanted to have a think about how we need to leave you with this idea that he says if love it be for what is perfect and cannot disappoint this love of death because death is perfect and it can't disappoint and I want you to have a think about does Thomas really think the deaf can't disappoint is this because there's something in his beliefs about going to heaven after he dies or is it just a sense of finality is it because we no longer can think and therefore no longer have these painful feelings of Solitude worth having a consideration why is Thomas ended the poem on this quite a depressing poem it has to be said which is interesting given what you said about rain being deemed as something positive I hope this has helped you have a little bit of an understand about the poem thanks a lot.
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