Theme in Housman's " To the Athlete Declining Young”
Dr . A. Kantor
English language 1302
six March 2009
" To a Athlete Dying Young”
with a. E. Houseman
The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by simply,
And residence we helped bring you shoulder-high.
Today, the street all sportsmen come,
Shoulder-high we all bring you home,
And set you at your tolerance down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Clever lad, to slide betimes apart
From fields where fame does not stay,
And early on though the laurel grows
This withers quicker than the increased.
Eyes the shady evening has close
Cannot begin to see the record cut,
And silence sounds not any worse than cheers
Following earth offers stopped the ears:
You will not get bigger the rout
Of lads that used their respects out,
Runners whom well known outran
As well as the name passed away before the gentleman.
So established, before their echoes reduce,
The fast foot within the sill of shade,
And hold towards the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laureled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered in its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.
Thesis and Outline
Thesis: Housman uses visual imagery, double-meaning words, and life cycles to produce a theme of fading fame.
We. Visual Images
II. Double-meaning Words
3. Life Periods
DC British 1302
Doctor A. Kantor
Theme in Housman's " To the Athlete About to die Young”
In Alfred Edward Housman's " To a Athlete Dying Young”, the theme of falling glory can be evident through the entire piece. Understanding and comprehending the idea is important to understanding the composition. Housman uses visual symbolism, double-meaning phrases, and lifestyle cycles to formulate a theme of fading glory. Visual imagery is used in several ways to present the theme. Inside the first stanza, the narrator is recalling the day that the runner gained a race for his town. When ever Housman says that " Man and boy stood cheering simply by, And house we helped bring we brought you shoulder-high” (Housman Lines 3-4), it truly is obvious the athlete was praised because " having been placed on a great emotional/psychological base as well as a physical one” (Napierkowski 230). Following, Housman says that
Today, the road almost all runners come,
Shoulder-high we all bring you house,
And set you at your tolerance down,
Townsman of a stiller town. (Lines 5-8)
These kinds of lines strongly paint a picture of the athlete being carried high once again, but this time the athlete in the own casket on the way to his grave. The saying " The road all runners come” conveys the " speaker's understanding of the mortality of all people” (Napierkowski 230). The story went on in line several by burying the body at his " threshold”. " The ‘threshold' may literally be the physical sides of a burial plot, but it can also refer to the boundary between earthly truth and the regarding the dead” (231). This shows that all people will expire and that this type of athlete was held high though he was on the way to the severe, because he passed away young and was still being remembered for what he had done in his life. Another make use of imagery is definitely shown in lines 11 and 12, the moment Housman says " And early though the laurel grows It withers quicker compared to the rose. ” This is demonstrating that the athlete gets his fame early in life, but just as the laurels, his glory fades quickly. " The idea of a laurel tea leaf representing the brevity of physical beauty and strength is furthered by the comparison to the feminine and delicate rose, which will grows early on in the time of year and withers and passes away quickly (but not as quickly as the laurel)” (231). In the last stanza of " To an Sportsman Dying Young”, the image from the dead sportsman having already passed through the threshold and existing in the world of the dead is presented. The athlete is wearing the victory wreath made of laurel. The only difference in the wreath of laurel in the world of the dead and the wreath of...
Cited: Cummings, Michael T. " To an Athlete Declining Young”. Cummings Guides. twenty-seven Jan 2009. 3 Drive 2009..
Housman, A. Elizabeth., " To an Athlete About to die Young. ” The Gathered Poems. Greater london: Jonathan Hat, 1939.
Napierkowski, Marie Rose, and Mary E. Ruby, eds. " For an Athlete Perishing Young. ” Poetry pertaining to Students. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale, 1998.