Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sonnet Written In The Church Yard At Middleton In Sussex

At the beginning of “Sonnet Written In The Church Yard At Middleton In Sussex” Smith describes the sea. In this poem Smith does not find aesthetic beauty in this part of nature but rather she feels a sense of danger. " The sea no more is swelling surge confines, But o'er the shrinking land sublimely rides. The wild blast, rising from the Western cave, Drives the huge billows from their heaving bed;” Typically people find pleasure from the sea. However, Smith in a melancholy state feels as if the sea is a powerful force that we have no control over. In the second half of the poem she describes the people who had their lives taken from the mighty force of the sea. Standing amongst these dead corpses she declares, " While I am doom'd by life's long storm opprest, To gaze with envy, on their gloomy rest." Charlotte Smith has had it with her life. In this poem you can see that a Smith is terrified by the power and mystery of the sea. Despite that feeling, she would rather get lost in it and escape from the misery of her life. I compare Charlotte Smith's "Sonnet XLIV" to Vincent Van Gogh's "The Starry Night". My reasoning behind this comparison has to do with both the artists' outlook on life, as well as the content of these specific works. Although, not much is known about Van Gogh’s feelings behind "The Starry Night”, people have come up with many ideas as to what he was feeling. He painted it when he was in a mental asylum suffering from depression. In that melancholy state he produced a painting of the night sky. He illustrated the sky to be powerful and raging. His portrayal and stance towards the night sky could be similar to that of Smith's towards the sea. Despite the fear they both would have accepted an end to their lives by allowing these powerful forces to captivate their lives. 


Steve Jones said...

By explaining it, you make the comparison to the painting effective. Turbulent nature in both mirrors turbulent emotional states.