Analysis of Thomas Hardy Poem, the Convergence of the Twain

The paper entails an Explication of Thomas Hardy’s poem, The Convergence of the Twain. The poet is among the unique individuals in the world of literature and has taken an unusual approach towards the story. He has focused on the Titanic ship and the iceberg. Therefore, we are going to analyze the poem by explaining how he has used the various poetic elements to portray meaning in the poem. Precisely, the paper provides an analysis of the poem’s form and how the speaker has used poetic elements such as personification, rhythm, meter, rhyme, assonance, metaphor, metonymy, and alliteration.

First, the poet has portrayed the form of the poem in an organized manner. In each stanza of the poem, the speaker has put two short lines followed by a longer line. Besides, the speaker’s use of the shorter line is to set a scene for his realization, which is then outlined in the longer line. We can get a vivid example from the sixth stanza. The speaker has used short lines for the first and second verses such as “Well: while was fashioning” and “This creature of cleaving wing” (Steinberg, 2013). Similarly, the last verse in stanza six has a longer line “The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything” (Steinberg, 2013). The poet introduces the readers to the effects of what he considered as Immanent Will. On the same note, the longer line introduces us to the enormous, invisible forces that do whatever it likes to everything. The poem explains the concepts of the power of nature versus the work of man, and then the poet makes a longer realization about the interaction between the two. Therefore, the speaker has organized the poem to fit the shape of the poem.

The poem also depicts the use of rhyme. The omniscient speaker wrote the poem in eleven three-line stanzas. The poet ensured that the three lines of each stanza rhyme. The three lines of each stanza share the same rhyme scheme of AAA. For example, “pyres, fires, and lyres” are lines in stanza two with end rhymes (Steinberg, 2013). Also, the speaker has used end rhymes in the second, third, and fourth stanzas to mimic the sound produced by the tide. Moreover, the use of consonant rhymes in stanza four is portraying how the poet has mastered the art of writing lyrically and narrating the message to the audience at the same time. For example, Hardy has used rhyming words such as “designed, mind, and blind” at the end of each line in stanza four (Steinberg, 2013). The Internal rhyme of “grew and too” is depicted in stanza eight (Steinberg, 2013). It makes the rhythm repetitive, and the audience can picture the different steps in the construction of Titanic ship. The stages are completed section by section. The internal rhyme in stanza eight referred to the iceberg hence the building of the iceberg as shown by the rhyming words was of a similar method.

Hardy describes how the ship looks like in the first part of the poem. The poet describes the ship to contain doors, windows, and mirrors. He personifies the fish in the fifth stanza when the poem says “fishes near gazed at the gilded gear, and query.” “What does this vaingloriousness down here?” (Steinberg, 2013). The fish saw a large object (ship) when they were swimming on the ocean floor and wondered how it got there. The personification of the fish portrays how man’s vanity is frivolous and unnecessary. The ship is now looked down upon by aquatic animals, yet it was to be the mother of all ships. In stanza eight, the letter “I” in Iceberg has been capitalized. The capitalization of “I” emphasizes the powerfulness of the iceberg.

Stanza nine of the poem shows the use of assonance. The rhyme in this stanza is with the letter “e.” In line one, words that fall into the “e” rhyme include “seemed” and “be”. Also, in line three we have “wielding” and “history” (Steinberg, 2013). The use of assonance in this stanza explains how the passengers in the ship could not see the tragedy coming. They depict a complete thought, and the lines run smoothly. Hardy’s use of meter in this poem work to similar purposes. The speaker’s favorite lines mingle and emphasize concepts (Baer, 2006). The lines used in the poem are regular in meter. Moreover, the poem is divided into eleven stanzas each having three lines. Similarly, the end syllables within each stanza rhyme. The first two lines are tri-meters while the last line is a hexameter (Baer, 2006). The breaks within the stanzas depict the sadness of the poem, and they make the reader pause before proceeding to the next line.

Hardy uses the powerful role of fate as a major theme in this poem.  The poem suggests in stanza six that “an Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything” prepared tragedy that a waited the Titanic ship (Steinberg, 2013). Besides, the poem shows the iceberg and Titanic as lovers waiting to meet and be together. Also, the shaping metaphor of the poem is explained as a consummation between the Titanic ship and the iceberg. Therefore, the metaphor has been portrayed in this context to use the idea of fate as the motivation for their meeting. The product (baby) is death, tragedy, and wreck.

The poem also portrays the use of metonymy especially in stanza six where “Immanent Will” has been used instead of God. Therefore, the speaker tried to show that God had not planned for the ship to sail it, wealthy patrons. The intention of God was for the Titanic ship to hit the iceberg.

Alteration has also worked well in this poem. In the last line of stanza four, the poet has used words such as “bleared, black, and blind” to pay more attention to things like jewels since they do not have light to help them shine. Similarly, in the first stanza, Hardy has used alteration in the following words “solitude and sea” (Steinberg, 2013). The poet has used alteration to portray the following concepts. First, it makes us understand the difference that exist between nature’s reality and human’s vanity. Also, it emphasizes and keeps things sound smooth. For example, the soft sound of the sea waves outlined in the first verse of stanza one “solitude and sea.”



Baer, W. (2006). Writing metrical poetry: Contemporary lessons for mastering traditional forms. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest.

Steinberg, G. (2013). Thomas Hardy: the poems. Palgrave Macmillan.


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