Thursday, March 25, 2010


Thinking about the theme of this week—Romance Perverted—it is easy to think about just how “messed up” so many of these relationships are—from a girl loving a pot of basil to a serial killing beauty. The theme continues in Tennyson’s poetry, especially “Mariana.” The chief characteristic of the poem that I noticed is the way the natural world reflects Mariana’s interior life. From the very first stanza, nature is described as decaying: “rusted nails”, “weeded and worn”, etc. Mariana declares repeatedly that she wishes she was “dead”—this state would mirror the natural world around her. This wish is caused by the fact that “He cometh not” which suggests that Mariana has been forsaken by a lover or that her lover has died. It seems extreme to wish for death when one loses a lover, but this, of course, fits perfectly with perverted love. It’s interesting that we don’t even know the story about Mariana’s lost love, and it makes me want to build a back story—kind of like what Liz suggested in her post regarding “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” and we discussed in class. What is it that made her lover leave or caused her lover’s death and Mariana’s decay into absolute despair?


  1. Maybe her man simply fancied a woman who could keep up a garden / house?

    In all seriousness though, I agree, and will take it a step further and say that the lack of a background and the vagueness in general is what causes the perversion as much as or even more so than than the twisted images. It creates a sense of lack-of-logic, which in one regard fits in perfectly with the whole idea of love being instinctual and surpassing logic, but at the same time it also completely distorts this idea with the extreme example(s) set forth.

  2. I definitely agree about the role of nature in the poem. I thought it was neat how Tennyson creates the sense of abandonment in the description of nature and the woman's heart. The setting itself seems "aweary, aweary." It really emphasizes her passivity in the poem. She does not allow herself any control over her degradation, but just sits around decaying. I thought the nature really helped draw out this concept.