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Poetry Analysis Notes



 

Uphill
by Christina Rossetti
interpreted by Ian Gallagher

Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a restingplace?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.


Poet: Christina Rossetti, an English poet, was on December 5, 1830 and died December 29, 1894. Her family was greatly was greatly interested in the arts of literature, art, and religion. As a child, she wrote some poems and as she grew older, she wrote poems under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyne in The Germ, a publication put out by her brother. Her first volume of poetry was Goblin Market, in which she showed strange melancholy things along with a lyrical talent. Other volumes of poetry included The Prince's Progress, A Pageant, Sing Song, and Speaking Likenesses. Much of her work was influenced by her deep religious beliefs.

Vocabulary: This poem contained no words in which I was not familiar. [NONE]

Type of poem:
Lyric

Speaker: This poem is a dialogue between two people.

Audience:
The reader

Tone: The tone of this poem is unique, it is a tone of determination. This comes from the fact that the road may always be uphill but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Meaning:
This poem is paralleled with life. The poet writes "Does the road wind uphill all the way?……Yes, to the very end" (lines 1-2). The poet is saying that life is always hard and ever changing. "Will the day's journey take the whole long day?…..From the morn to night, my friend" (lines 3-4). Here the poet is explaining the length of life using morn to represent birth and night to represent death. But is there for the night a restingplace?………A roof for when the slow dark hours begin" (lines 5-6). Again using night for death the poet asks is there a heaven and the poet answers that there is a heaven. "May not the darkness hide it from my face?…………You cannot miss that Inn" (lines 7-8). Rossetti asks if the death can hide the shelter, which is heaven. She answers that one cannot miss the heaven, which is represented by an inn. "Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?…….Those who have gone before" (lines 9-10). The poet is asking if there are other souls in death, which again is equated to night. Rossetti answers that all that have died before are there. "Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?…….They will not keep you standing at the door" (lines 11-12). In this quote, Rossetti asks if heaven welcomes all travelers. She answers that heaven will welcome you. " Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?………Of labor you shall find the sum" (lines 13-14). The poet asks if there will be reward and relaxation in heaven. She answers that you shall find only the equivalent of how well you lived life on Earth. "Will there be beds for me and all who seek?……..Yea, beds for all who come" (lines 15-16). Rossetti asks if there will be rest and finality in heaven. She answers that everyone receives this rest. Using this poem, Rossetti is telling readers that while life is hard and ever changing that there is a reward in the end. This comes from her deeply religious roots. She also seems to portray the person answering each question as either God or Jesus.

Structure of poem: A traditional poem with mixed meter. The poem contains four, four line stanzas. Each stanza has its own individual ABAB rhyme scheme. Also this poem uses Iamb stressing rules but it changes syllable usage. In the first and third lines, there are ten syllables and in the second and fourth lines have six syllables. Also the second and fourth lines are indented.

Examples of poetic techniques used in the poem:

[NONE GIVEN]

Connection between the poem and the poet's life and/or times: Christina Rossetti was brought up in a very religious family. She herself is very religious and an avid Anglican. This religious influence is a great factor in this poem, which explains life and heaven.

Most memorable quote from the poem:
"Does the road wind uphill all the way? Yes, to the very end."

© Smelli Notes 2001