Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Coldness of Harry Blake

In reading the poem, "Goody Blake and Harry Hill," Wordsworth has the profound ability of actually making me feel cold through repetition and word choice. The constant chattering of Harry Gill's teeth paints a vivid image of a cold and miserable man. His description of the iced over streams, the bones rattling inside of the thinly clothed poor old Goody Blake, forced to stay awake and steal firewood in order to stay warm, even the cold night's wind blowing against the run down cottage. These images all create a cold feeling in the reader and makes this poem a perfect allegory of helping out a troubled neighbor when times are tough.

Harry's curse seems unbearable to me as the Nashville winter continues to prove unforgiving, but its an adequate response for his actions against Goody. He will forever be cold and know the constant struggle the the poor old Goody Blake must endure every winter in her lonely cottage. She commits such a small transgression by stealing Harry's firewood, for which Harry chastises her greatly while in his warm jacket. So she prays to God, who curses Harry to be cold forever. I am reminded of Dante's cold and dark vision of Hell in the Divine Comedy, and how he felt that treacherous actions against one's neighbors were amongst the most punishable of sins. Personally, I am tired of the cold and want Spring to come soon, but this poem seems appropriate given the recent weather.

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