Treatment of Childhood/ theme of nostalgia of Dylan Thomas


Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) always returns to the larger philosophical issues of life. He glorifies his childhood in many of his poems. Applying multiple symbols, he recollects his glorious childhood and gives a vivid description of it that enchant the readers and take them to their childhood. Now we will discuss how Dylan Thomas glorifies his childhood in his poems,  

Treatment of childhood in Fern Hill  

“Fern Hill” is the most celebrated poem by Dylan Thomas. In this poem, the poet reminisces about his childhood. We can see that in the first line, which reads “as I was young,” a clear indication of the fact that the poet is talking about the time when he was a child.  

He recreates his childhood by describing the physical surroundings of his memories in detail, such as the “apple boughs” the “lilting house”, and the “daisies and barley,”. They help the readers to imagine the rural landscape in which the poem is set. This positive and inviting description of his surroundings clearly creates an optimistic image, which underlines the poet’s fond childhood memories. Here we find him saying,   

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns 

About the happy yard and singing 

The poet also uses very positive words, such as “happy yard” and “it was lovely,” which further underline the fact that the poet is glorifying his childhood. The poet also recreates his happy childhood memories by describing his activities on the farm. He tells us that he was “singing” and that “time let (him) play.” The poet also tells us that he used to engage in imaginative play by pretending to be a “huntsman and herdsman”. These are all activities that a reader would easily associate with a happy childhood. Therefore, these descriptions further help the reader to imagine the poet as a child. They send a clear positive message about the poet’s innocent days as a child.  

More Notes: Dylan Thomas 

Treatment of childhood in Poem in October  

While celebrating their thirtieth birthday the poet, recollects the sweet memories and innocence, and glorious vision of childhood. Waking up at the call of nature quite early in the morning, he feels that he is being greeted on his birthday by the objects of nature, birds, beasts, hills and trees, and the waves of the ocean. He says,  

My birthday began with the water- 

Birds and the birds of the winged trees 

 When the whole town is asleep the poet comes out of the house and finds the herons sitting priest-like on the seashore, the pool full of mussels, the crowing of rooks from the woods, the knocks of the sailing boats and the fishermen hunting fish in the harbor with nets. All these natural phenomena and human activities seem to welcome the poet on his birthday.  

It is a rainy autumn day in the month of October. It seems to the poet, who has become a child, that the water birds and the birds flying over the trees are aware of his birthday. They seem to be celebrating the occasion by flying over the farmhouses.  

More Notes: Suggestions


Thus, these two poems are memorable for the demonstration of the poet’s childhood. The poet refers to his childhood which is no more. The poet is very sad that his childhood days are gone forever and those days will never come back to him. But the recollection of childhood gives him mental pleasure.  

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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