And the sun was white : light and shade in Thomas Hardy's poems
Howard, Catherine E.
Master of Arts
Thomas Hardy employs the descriptive mode unusually in his poems, causing his reader to produce a particular impression of a scene rather than passively to accept Hardy's image; like the French Impressionists and their English forerunner J. M. W. Turner, who fascinate him, Hardy is interested in the effects of light and shade. He presents sunlight in oppressively "hot" images as predictive, moralizing, and speaking to subjects who do not recognize its message. Similarly, shade, shadow, and moonlight, thoroughly "cold," share these characteristics. The white winter sun, the epitome of cool warmth, possesses exactly the opposite traits: it is singularly descriptive, distinctly amoral, and addresses subjects who are conspicuously perceptive about their situations. Hardy's awareness of Impressionistic uses of color, fragmentation, and point of view appears in his representations of sun and shade images, and in attempting to replicate sense experiences in the reader, he demonstrates a truly "impressionistic" sensibility.
British and Irish literature; Fine Arts; Communication and the arts; Language, literature and linguistics