Emily Bronte grew up with few real friends instead she became friends with nature and imaginary characters as well as being very, very close to Bramwell, Charlotte and Anne Bronte. The imaginary characters are put across in her poems where we see characters relating to herself, usually motherless characters relating to herself , usually motherless characters e.g. Remembrance is about a lost love and one I believe to be the mother and the poem is about Emily not being able to treat, love another women like she did her mum.
Throughout the entire five poems Emily uses nature to give the poems life.
Life in her poems is often disguised by describing it as something natural such as the sun e.g. stars where the sun represents a person and the person is represented with lots of sun imagery, blood red, rose, arrow straight, fierce, beams, struck, blazing and gold all describe the sae person and all relate to the sun. In Remembrance the sun is a metaphor fro God and the negative imagery used by Emily sets the mood and tone of the poem in that verse.
The poem is sad and downbeat and Emily puts this across to the reader by using negative imagery of nature. Sun is light to everything on Earth and although this is a positive thing Emily uses negative imagery of the sun and she is looking at the sun as more of a ball of fire that is dangerous rather than a bearer of light. This is backed up by the message Emily put across in ‘Stars’ where the reader is given the impression that Emily feels exposed by the Sunlight and protected and safe in the dark.
I have also said that the sun represents God. This would mean hat there is a lack of trust between Emily and God. This is unusual as Emily was very religious as her father Patrick was a priest. I believe that the lack of trust we see in ‘Stars’ is because Emily feels let down by God because he allowed the death of her mum and dad. The line ‘warm, but burn’ shows the sun/god being bad/dangerous/causing death. This is backed up further by the line following ‘that drains the blood of suffering men’.
‘That does not warm, but burn
That drains the blood of suffering men’
‘Stars’ is a good example of how Emily was detached from the real world and only felt she was accepted in Gondal. Stars have a lot of emphasis on night and day and dream. Night represents Gondal where she’s in her dreams and day is real life where she was introvert and not very sociable.
Remembrance is a poem Emily uses religious imagery to put across images of heaven, angels and hell. Similar to stars though the religion is surrounded by death.
In remembrance there is a lot of negative imagery that suggests there is bodies in the ground e.g. ‘Brown hills’ ‘tomb’ ‘grave’ ‘resting their wings where heath and fern leaves cover’ is imagery of angels because angels are believed to have wings but resting is a term that can be used when talking sensitively about death and heath and fern leaves cover the ground so this is a cold image of a dead body lying helplessly on the ground. Also angels are supposed to look very pale this also links with dead bodies as they loose colour in their skin too.
I believe the poem to be about her mother and this line is about Emily imagining her body lying with her arms out stretched but in Emily’s eyes she looks like an angel with her wings spread out.
Other religious references in Remembrance include ‘morn’ which is a direct negative religious word relating to death/funeral. ‘Heathen’ although positive is still dealing with death and is negative when the death was before its time.
Remembrance is also filled with lots of information about nature; this would be down to Emily’s experiences as a child and growing up in both worlds (Reality and Gondal).
A common theme in Emily’s poem was negative imagery of water. There were examples of this in both ‘Stars’ and ‘Remembrance’.
‘Remembrance’ includes examples such as ‘severed at last, by times all severing wave’ also the words ‘tears’ and ‘drinking deep’ are negative. Tears are negative as it represents sadness while drinking deep represents drowning or being over indulged by water.
In Stars we see negative water imagery that has a strong link to drowning. ‘Sea’ ‘fall’ ‘sank’ ‘waved’ ‘tears’ and ‘drank’.
Petrel on the sea, sank, drank and tears are especially negative. Sea sank and drank all links together as they create an image of drowning. The order sequence they are written in, in the poem is also negative as it follows the order drank-sea-fell-sank so it’s almost telling the reader bit by bit.
Daydream also includes negative imagery of water, again the words wave, tears and sank are used. Wave (d) and tears are present in 4/5 poems. This tells the reader that this way of expression of feelings was common to Emily. Emily had been described by people surrounding her as determined, courageous and strong minded. Perhaps she felt that tears showed weakness so instead of crying herself she passed on the tears to the characters in the poems as a way of dealing with the sadness she felt.
The common use of sank could have something to do with that it was the one part of nature she couldn’t explore as she didn’t live near the sea and also the sea is unknown and nothing much was known about it in her day. So maybe an aspect of feat or maybe it was relating not to water but her mind sinking into subconscious thoughts/dreams where she lived in Gondal.
The final negative water images in Daydream are ‘overflow’ and ‘frozen’. Overflow is another that could be used to describe drowning as it gives the impression of the container filling up and water flowing over the edges. This could be a pair of lungs filling and overflowing. Overflow combined with wave and shore also used in the poem give the image of the sea taking over the land which is also negative.
Finally frozen gives the image of winter which is pathetic fallacy for death, also the words frozen gives a cold appearance that creates a cold, still atmosphere, tone and mood.
In How Clear She Shines Emily uses imagery of snakes which relates to Adam and Eve. This relates to the rest of the poem as something good is being destroyed just like the Garden of Eden.
An interesting line in how clear she shines is ‘while heaven and earth are whispering me’. This shows the reader that Gondal is where she is, is in-between earth and heaven. She is deciding where to go heaven or earth. Before Emily died she refused treatment for her cold and many believed that she refused treatment for her cold because she wanted to die.
The sun represents her mum and the poem concentrates in heaven and earth. The poem is exploring the up and down sides to earth.
Life + death, hope + fate, pleasure + treachery, reason + paid, truth + greed, joy+ peace. She is basically thinking heaven + Earth. ‘And joy is the surest path to pain’ this means she would be happy to be with her mum again but she would be in pain dying and would also cause pain to those on Earth who knew her.
My comforter has interesting references to nature such as describing her habitat as a den. A den is more commonly used to describe a place where animals such as big cats would live. Savage also links in with this as big cats would be described as savage. Here Emily is using her knowledge of nature to give the poem a more wild edge.
The five poems are heavily influenced by nature and also religion as I have explained along with a few ideas of my own.
The poems all link to each other in different ways such as the extended water imagery in all 5 poems. There’s Mention of heaven and hell in three of the poems as well.
Emily used many more references to nature in her poems that I haven’t mentioned as there were so many.