Fern Hill

Fern Hill Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What impact does personification have in the poem?

    Through his usage of personification, Thomas emphasizes the liveliness of the landscape, which seems like a living creature in and of itself. Furthermore, he endows the landscape with a certain sense of will and knowledge, implying that it understands in some way the boy’s happiness and eventual plight. By personifying time, Thomas makes it an active force, intervening first benevolently, then wickedly, in the boy’s life. Time, which leads the boy out of Fern Hill, is perhaps analogous to the serpent of Eden, which tempts Adam and Eve to their doom.

  2. 2

    What effect does the poem’s ending in the “sea” have?

    The sea is compared to “chains,” making it a sort of prison. Though the boy is able to travel freely in Fern Hill, seas are dominated by rough tides and strong winds that determine one’s course of motion. Time in Fern Hill ends up having a similar power: it controls the boy, despite his resistance. By ending with the sea, Thomas acknowledges the darker impact nature can have.