Critical Analysis of The One Furrow by R. S. Thomas: 2022

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Last updated on September 10th, 2022 at 04:44 pm

Critical Analysis of The One Furrow

“The One Furrow” by R. S. Thomas is a dynamic poem, which captivates the heart and emotion of everyone who reads it, leaving behind the rational mind and fundamentally touching upon one s core of the soul. It essentially conveys asensitive message to all – to look back at their roots, not forgetting to connect to it for that s where one has risen from. This poem effectively reveals the surge of enlightenment that one and all partake to. The poet even talks about himself having participated in that process, but what he chooses to emphasize upon is not the fruits of education, but the essential requisite of living in union with one’s place of origin, their core. The “pencil and foot rule”, “sponge and slate” all were devices of education the poet possessed, prepared to enlighten his mind with schooling as he sat on a “tall stool”. Time passed and he grew older, his mind a lot more sharpened, being “clever and keen-eyed” he indulged in further learning, willing himself to navigate the world of knowledge deeper, but what stopped him mid way was an alarming deficiency, without which the soul could not prosper – peace. After having travelled quite some way, he realized in his “mind’s pride” that peace was elusive. Being someone to whom the well being of the soul was of tremendous importance, the poet couldn’t continue on his journey, for he was in search of peace and rest, both of which textual education couldn’t show the way to. Thus we find him, retracing his steps back to “cattle and barrow, field and plough”, with his soul as his guide, reconnecting with the core, keeping to the “one furrow”, regaining peace and in that process rest. Having secured all those essentials, we find the poet musing at the ending of the poem with a question, that is addressed more to the universe than to any individual, the answer to which the poet maybe has already, but wishes for the readers to find on their own.

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Poetic Devices

Figures of Speech:

Learning gate : This is an example of transferred epithet, a figure of speech where the epithet is transferred from its proper subject to another associated with it, in the mind of the poet. Here “learning” is not appropriate to the noun “gate”, thus we spot the change in usual positioning of words with reference to their meanings and the ultimate establishment of this device being used.

Mind pride: This is an example of transferred epithet, a figure of speech where the epithet is transferred from its proper subject to another associated with it, in the mind of the poet. Here “pride” is not appropriate to the noun “mind”, thus we spot the change in usual positioning of words with reference to their meanings and the ultimate establishment of this device being used.

Rhyme Scheme:

The poem “The One Furrow” by R.S.Thomas, has one stanza with fifteen lines. End rhyme has been used extensively is the poem all throughout. It follows the rhyme pattern of aaba/bccc/cdee/ffff.

Central Idea of the Poem

“The One Furrow” by R. S. Thomas, emphasizes on strengthening one s bond with their roots, here he is talking specifically about the land, for he believes, rightly so, that the land, the source of our origin, is capable, unlike other worldly elements, of refurbishing the drained human soul, who wanders about in search of peace, wishing to rest from the tiring journey of life. Education causes one to be enlightened, but at the same time may fill one up with pride and spite as well, that in the end serves no purpose but to detach one from their core, obstructing the path back home, back to the land where they were born from. The poet warns all to not be victimized by such inflictions, for when left with no refuge, not even “the one furrow”, the human soul shall lay lifeless in the world, uncared for, drained of all verve, discarded as an used up corpse. He wishes for all to be adaptable, to be flexible, flourish in the world of learning and be able to beautify one s soul with the connection made to land as well. This balance needs to be maintained, for one to retain and rejuvenate life.

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Theme of the Poem

The theme that is forbearing in the entire poem is that of revitalization and restoration. Beginning with the tedious but vital journey to the world of education, usurping all that it has to offer, enlightening the mind with all the worldly facts and figures, the poet seems disappointed at not being able to secure peace, an element most essential to the well being of the soul. Incapable of relishing rest, the poet finds himself walking the path of rejuvenation, the only one known to him and mankind. Needless to say, guided by an invisible force he reaches the magical place, which restores tired human beings to their former state of being content, with which the poet believes exists an unbreakable tie, one that should be taken care of and maintained at all times, for when life drains out all the liveliness, it’s the “land” that shall reinvigorate all.

Tone of the Poem

“The One Furrow”by R.S. Thomas, as the name suggests, refers to that one refuge every man has throughout his life, often overlooked but there always: his land, his home, his core, in the poem read as the “one furrow”. The tone of the poem is personal yet universal, filled with an emotional fervor punctuated with a subtle strand of caution. The poet adopts a discontent tone when he tells us about theever elusive peace, refusing him “rest” as well in his pursuit of education. He adopts a marginallypositive tone when he pictures a journey back home, to the land where from all have arisen, wherein eternal peace lies. The tone of the poet changes to one of amusement as he finds himself effortlessly guided back to his nucleus, wondering who showed the path. On the whole, the poem has a tone of rejuvenation that changes shades from the beginning till the end, and strikes the correct chords as the readers feel they too undertook the journey with the poet, leaving all in a search for their own answers to the ambiguous question.

Conclusion

“The One Furrow” by R. S. Thomas, is a distinctly stirring piece which conveys aparticularly essential life lesson, that one should not ever forget where they came from, respect their origin for that’s where one would inevitably have to go back at. He articulates the peril of education that one should steer clear of, referring to succumbing to a mind filled with pride. This maneuvers one away from humility and their roots, thus one needs to be careful of not falling victim to it. Practicingflexibility, acceptance and pride of family and place will only enhance one’s being, beautify one’s soul and help in reconnecting to the land, the place where we all came from that s worth nothing less than absolute respect. The poet has used a very simplistic style to impart a momentous meaning, enhancing the splendor of the poem. The message that the poem diffuses into its readers is more of a reminder how its important to stop in our ever rushing journey to education and establishment, and examine the strength of our roots for strong roots help nourish strong wings, making it absolutely necessary for one and all to remain grounded, aware of their foundation. An universal appeal oozes out of the poem as within very few words the poet manages to impart wisdomthat is beyond time and space.

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