'the Trees Are Down' by Charlotte Mew Essay

1169 Words Sep 24th, 2012 5 Pages
How are the trees used to convey the poet’s thoughts or attitudes in:

‘The Trees Are Down’ by Charlotte Mew

Charlotte Mew was an English poet who wrote frequently about the nature in London. The poem deals with the felling of plane trees in Euston Square Gardens, London in the early 1920s. There is a clear sense of desolation and loss in this poem, a lament for the felling of the great plane trees. The poem has elements of Modernism, the disordered rhythm, rhyme and syntax mirroring Mew’s belief that she had the genes to pass on a mental illness. The poem also has elements of late Romanticism, connecting the trees and nature to man and the divine. The trees are used to convey the poet’s appreciation and understanding of nature
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There is a contrast between the harsh consonants “gr” used to describe the human equipment and soft consonants “sw” to describe the movement of the trees. Mew is highlighting the harsh destruction of harmless nature by man. The repetition of the adjective phrase “loud common” suggests that there people are either ignorant towards their damage to nature or many people have in “common” no appreciation for nature. Mew could also be highlighting her feelings of disgust towards their noisy behaviour. This is reinforced by the almost vulgar language of the men with the interjections “Whoops” and “Whoas”. The preposition “above” to describe the sounds of the men compared to the sounds of nature highlight that men is above nature because they exploit nature for man’s own purposes. The reader understands the poet’s disagreement with the men’s destructive point of view of nature as her point of view is an appreciation and understanding of nature.

The second stanza expresses the poet’s memory which lead to this appreciation of nature, while the cutting down of the trees continues. The stanza begins with the pronoun and verb “I remember” to imply that this is a childhood memory Mew is going to portray. The adjective “god-forsaken” highlights the speaker’s distaste for the rodent as it has no use or value. The adjective “even” highlights that in spring, the season of life, even a useless creature like a rat should not be dead. This further highlights Mew’s

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