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Monday, March 18, 2013

Thoughts on Thomas Hardy's Poetry

This is an essay that I wrote for my English Literature class last semester in response to some of Thomas Hardy's poetry.  

            The reading assignments this week, consisting of selections from the poetry of Thomas Hardy, were very interesting and enlightening.  I am familiar with Thomas Hardy as a novelist, having read two of his novels and seen the film adaptations of two more, but I was unaware of the fact that he was a poet as well.  All of Hardy’s poetry is beautiful and enjoyable to read, but the poem that stood out to me the most was “He Never Expected Much”. 
“Never, I own, expected I / That life would be all fair.
‘Twas then you said, and since have said, / Times since have said,
 In that mysterious voice you shed / From the clouds and hills around:
 ‘Many have loved me desperately, / Many with smooth serenity,
 While some have shown contempt of me / Till they dropped underground.”
(NEAL 2325-6)
            This excerpt stood out to me because the first two lines are fairly accurate of my attitude towards life.  I don’t
expect it to be fair, nor do I expect it to be easy or happy all the time.  I expect life to be difficult, an uphill battle where I have to fight and work hard to reach my destination.  This doesn’t mean however, that I do not love life.  I do.  I love being alive, breathing in and out, seeing the world and the people around me, searching for and taking opportunities to grow and love like my Savior.  Because my expectations of life are not incredibly high, I don’t expect things to be handed to me – if I want or need something I expect that I am going to have to work hard and earn it – I feel that I am able to look at life with relative calm.  It takes a lot to shake me up or make me unhappy with my lot in life. 
             I have found in my short experiences with life, that the people who expect life to be handed to them on a silver platter tend to be the least content, least happy and most miserable people in the world.  On the other hand, the people who don’t expect life and opportunities to be handed to them but expect to have to work hard to earn things in life, those are the people who seem to be the most content and the most serene.  That thing which is most easily gotten is the least valued.  It is the things that a person has to work hard for - sacrifice something for - which will be the most valued and treasured for the person has felt and intimately know what it costs to obtain that thing.  I have found that those people for whom life is easy, who expect that anything they want or need will be easily come by, those are the people who do not value life very much.  On the contrary, those who have had some hardship in their lives, be it financial, emotional, mental or even spiritual, those are the people who look at life with relish.  Those are the people who enjoy every moment and all the little things of life.  For they are the ones who have learned to take nothing for granted, and that is the secret to contentment – thankfulness.  

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