Convergence Of Twain


Convergence Of Twain
Thomas Hardy experienced great difficulty believing in a forgiving, Christian

God because of the pain and suffering he witnessed around him. He also endured
some pain, with the loss of his wife and suffering during the five years he
spent in London that made him ill. As a young man, Hardy wanted to become a
clergyman. This vocation was quite a turn around of what he pursued--a career as
a famous agnostic writer. He lost faith in his religious, Victorian upbringing.

As such, he shared a belief with many modern poets in the futility and waste of
human existence. Hardy did believe in a "supreme being" or as he liked
to call him "The Immanent Will," but he did not think of Him as a
forgiving God like other Christians. Instead, Hardy believed Him to be portrayed
as a vengeful God, which we learn from his poem, "The Convergence of the

Twain: (Lines on the loss of the 'Titanic')". Thomas Hardy wrote this poem
with a very noticeable chronological disruption midway through the poem. Unlike
most poets who keep their poems in chronological order to maintain suspense
throughout the poem, Hardy believed that the subject of the Titanic was so well
known that there was not any reason to keep the readers in suspense of what
impending doom awaited the Titanic. Instead, he commenced his poem with a
description of the Titanic at present: "grotesque, slimed, dumb,
indifferent"(st III). Then he proceeds to the "fashioning"(st VI)
of the famous ship and continues to that famous April evening where the "consummation"(st

XI) of the two "titanic" masses occurred--the grand ship made from
human hands and the silent iceberg made by the "Immanent Will"(st VI).

Hardy does not confine himself inside the walls of set syllables per verse;
every stanza has a different number of syllables in each verse. In the first
part of his poem the rhythm is very alluring. With proper uses of caesuras,
stresses and slacks, Hardy seems to capture the solitude of the sea that he is
describing with his steady, gentle sway of words, a "rhythmic tidal
lyre"(st II). While reading this poem, the words seem to move persistently
slowly up and down like the tide: I In a solitude of the sea Deep from human
vanity, And the Pride of life that planned her, stilly couches she. (lines 1-3)

Hardy also numbers all of the eleven stanzas of his poem. The numbering
indicates the separation of each one of the stanzas as if to imply that we have
to look at this poem as eleven different poems in one. This method gives us a
chance to understand the poem more efficiently by studying one stanza at a time.

A first reading of the poem would reveal five stanzas describing the
"gilded gear"(st V) at the bottom of the sea and six stanzas that
refer to the ship and to the iceberg converging at a point so "far and
dissociate"(st VII). However, an enjambment occurs between stanza VI and
stanza VII, as if these two stanzas were meant to be one: "The Immanent

Will that stirs and urges everything / Prepared a sinister mate"(lines

18/19). Ironically, these two stanzas describe both the creation of the ship and
the creation of the iceberg that are destined to come together later in time.

Hardy takes more of an antithetical approach toward the story of the Titanic
than most people think of or 'chose' to think of when they hear of the tragedy.

Most people want the story to be told through a tragic, yet romantic, point of
view that relates the tragedy of the men, women, and children who were lost on
that gruesome night. People relate emotionally to the story of the Titanic by
watching the movie that was released in the past year because it is from the
point of view of the people on the ship. We see a romantic mood portrayed be the
people on the ship and the tragedy suffered in the loss of their loved ones.

Consequently, Hardy does not want us to share in this travesty that they have
experienced. Instead of a tragic poem of the people involved in this tragic
event, Hardy distances himself from the picture, far enough just to see the two
grand and noble objects, a Godlike view solely focused on the two gigantic
entities. Through his poem, Hardy explains to us that it is a vengeful God that
planned the collision. In the section of the poem that contrasts both

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