Thin Line Between Romanticism and Death


The painting  titled, The Abby in the Oakwood(1808-1810) by Caspar David Friedrich can serve as a visual representation for the poem “The Thorn”(103). The poem begins stating that there is a thorn that is described as very old, after that it is described as “Not higher than a two years’ child” which automatically brings in the image of a small child that the narrator (maybe a women) would have had. It then proceeds to describe the thorn as “t stands erect this aged thorn” at this point it related to the photo because there are many tree that are standing up straight as described. Perhaps the most relevant aspect of the photo is the graves that appear in that gloomy photo. In those graves there could be a grave of a child that is being described in the poem as a thorn.  A grave that perhaps has a small child buried underneath.  In the second like of the second stanza it states “and hung  with heavy tufts of moss” which can mean that the mother hung her child.

Essentially this can be a description of the way she sees her child now that the child is dead and buried. She described the thorn with such compassion that it seems as if she admired it before with can have a connection to the dead child. The fact that the picture seems to be a haunted cemetery adds more to the comparison with the poem because it can mean that the mother feels bad about what she did and does not want to visit the child now that the child is buried.  The last line of the second stanza states “To bury this poor thorn forever”  which then seems as if she is addressing her child as a “poor thing” which alright emphasize the fact that she felt bad and potentially killed the child as stated earlier. The use of a thorn in order to describe the child relates to romanticism because it is describing the beauty of nature even when it is dead.

On stanza five there is a play of the use of colors and that is stated in the first line of the stanza which is ” “Ah me! what lovely tints are there! Of olive green and scarlet bright…Green, red and pearly white” although in the painting there  are no such colors there is fog that obstructs the view form anything beyond the cemetery yard which forces us to focus on the beauty that once was rather than on the beauty that is. Which is the same with literature, we are focus on analyzing these poems which are the modern form of literature involving romanticism.

-Luz Zepeda


One thought on “Thin Line Between Romanticism and Death

  1. The most original idea in your blog post is “it seems as if she admired it before with can have a connection to the dead child”. To improve this blog post I suggest focusing on something other than the subject matter of the picture to relate it to the poem. Death is apparent in both but your argument can really improve if you move beyond that theme.

    Extra Credit p. 2 3/10


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