Describe Dylan Thomas’s use of imagery in the poem “Fern Hill”.

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Fern Hill is a notable literary work by Dylan Thomas. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Fern Hill.


Describe Dylan Thomas’s use of imagery in the poem “Fern Hill.”

Dylan Thomas‘s (1914-53) poem “Fern Hill” vividly portrays the speaker’s childhood experiences on his family’s farm. The poem employs a rich series of images and metaphors to evoke the sensitive and emotional world of the speaker’s past.

Colors: One of the most striking images in the poem is the use of color. The speaker describes “green” and “golden color” to illustrate the simplicity and beautiful childhood. Here, green refers to the freshness of childhood days. He was once green but is now dying like all other green things.

“Time held me green and dying.”

The golden color reflects the beauty of childhood. He used to roam the farm among the apple trees, gladly. His childhood was beautiful and spontaneous.

“Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns.”

The use of color serves to create a vivid picture of the farm. It conveys the speaker’s emotional attachment to it.

Natural World: Another key image in the poem is that of the natural world. The speaker repeatedly discusses the animals and plants of the farm. He thinks that the farm is a living being. It can breathe with its rhythm. Dylan Thomas also imagines that the farm wanders at night and returns in the morning like a wanderer.

Sun: One particularly remarkable image in the poem is that of the sun. To the speaker, the sun sings when it rises. Then, it sets from the farm. This image serves to convey a sense of joy and vitality. It also suggests the cyclical nature of life and death.

Speaker’s Own Body: The speaker’s body is an image. The speaker describes himself as “young and easy” in the early part of the poem. Here, he reflects on his childhood experiences. He emphasizes the physical sensations of his youth. This imagery conveys the innocence and wonder he feels about his childhood.

Religious and Mythological Imagery: Dylan Thomas includes religious and mythological imagery to add depth and complexity to the poem. “Time let me play and be” recalls the biblical notion of a paradise lost, where Adam and Eve were allowed to play in the Garden of Eden before expulsion. The reference to,

“prince of the apple towns”

This quote suggests a quasi-religious or mythological figure, elevating the significance of the speaker’s experiences at Fern Hill. The allusion to the “sea” and the “holy streams” also hints at a spiritual journey or awakening, contributing to the poem’s philosophical and introspective elements.

Temporal Imagery: Time and its passage are central themes in “Fern Hill,” Thomas uses temporal imagery to convey the inevitable progression from youth to age. He employs images of the “green and carefree” days of youth contrasted with the later years characterized by “the singing” being “in the leaves” and “the night above the dingle starry.” This shift in imagery illustrates the speaker’s growing awareness of mortality and the loss of innocence. The recurring image of the “apple towns” also reflects the cycle of life and the seasons, as apples ripen and fall, mirroring the stages of human life.

In conclusion, Dylan Thomas’ use of imagery in “Fern Hill” is a powerful tool. It evokes the speaker’s childhood experiences and the natural world surrounding him.