Summary and Analysis of The Hand That Signed The Paper by Dylan Thomas

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INTRODUCTION TO DYLAN THOMAS-

Born in the year 1914 on 24 October in Swansea, South Wales, Dylan Marlais Thomas is one of the most beloved poets. His highly intense, emotional poetry belonged more to the romantic genre and his works are enjoyed by both the young and the adults equally.


THE HAND THAT SIGNED THE PAPER-

“The Hand That Signed The Paper” by Dylan Thomas questions the ruthless actions of the people in power and the effect they have on common people.

SETTING OF THE HAND THAT SIGNED THE PAPER-

The poem does not have any specific physical setting. It generally speaks about all the nations’ powerful entities.

POETIC DEVICES IN THE HAND THAT SIGNED THE PAPER-

ALLITERATION-

“The hand that signed the paper felled a city;”

“Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath”

REPETITION-

“The hand that signed the paper felled a city”

“The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever”

RHYME SCHEME OF THE HAND THAT SIGNED THE PAPER-

The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder, (A)

The finger joints are cramped with chalk; (B)

A goose’s quill has put an end to murder  (C)

That put an end to talk. (B)

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SUMMARY OF THE HAND THAT SIGNED THE PAPER-

The speaker says that the hand which signed the treaty destroyed a city, five rulers signed the deal for killing half the population of a country, those five became responsible for the death of a single king. The speaker then resentfully says that this mighty hand leads up to the an ordinary shoulder, the hand belonging to a person (old probably) suffering from arthritis, and this ordinary hand is destructive and ruthless. The treaty signed by this hand has led to famine, locusts and deaths. This powerful hand is capable of scribbling the name of the man controlling the faiths of innocent. The five cruel kings count the deaths and are aware of the destruction they created but they do not soften. Unlike the hands of god which always bless and work for prosper, these kings’ hands are ruthless and lack sympathy. These hands belong to selfish and um empathetic people.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE HAND THAT SIGNED THE PAPER-

“The Hand That Singed The Paper” aptly portrays the cruelty and the misuse of power which has been and still is being witnessed by the world. The people with power stand in contrast to the almighty power, the cruel kings’ being the villains in the lives of many rather than being the people’s saviors.  

TONE OF THE HAND THAT SIGNED THE PAPER-

The tone of the poem is resentful and melancholy.

CONCLUSION-

This poem is a constant reminder of how the attitude of a person with power can change the lives of many forever and how often the history has set an example of people’s lives taking a turn for bad when influenced by those who are powerful.

Contributor: Radhika Goel

 


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