Here, in this write-up, we have attempted discussing The Workbox theme by Thomas Hardy. The main theme that one can draw out from this poem is the theme of hidden guilt, which has been highlighted through the character of the wife. However, this whole scenario might just have arrived from the past experiences of the poet himself. What most importantly impacted Hardy and what might best explain the main theme in “The Workbox” was his doomed love affair with his cousin, Tryphena Sparks.
While staying at his home in the summer of 1867 Hardy met Tryphena Sparks, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a family related to his own. Trevor Johnson goes says, “Theirs was a passionate, tempestuous, and one suspects a precarious relationship. At all events, Tryphena returned Hardy’s engagement ring in 1872, after five years–an agonizing blow for him”. This goes to show that Hardy had much sorrow and heartache in his life, and it had a definite impact on his writing. Johnson states, “Her influence on his work is incalculable”. Terry Coleman further reinforces this statement by writing, “I believe she was one of the principal influences on his work”. It is easy to see the tremendous impression Tryphena Sparks made on Hardy’s life and for the reader to understand how Hardy could arrive at a theme such as that in “The Workbox.”
Indeed this whole situation, which Hardy has portrayed in his poem where we see a sudden arrival of a third person even though very much dead into the life of a lovely young couple very much signifies his own and this very element adds an extra layer of brilliance in this poem. Hope you enjoyed reading the theme of The Workbox by Thomas Hardy.
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