The Dark Poetry of Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

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Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold was written in 1867. My first thought on this piece was that it was going to be a peaceful poem about the ocean, but it quickly turned into a dark one. This poem made me visual the ocean moments and scenery around it. I enjoyed how the author used metaphors to describe the ocean. It really made it feel like I was there watching the ocean move. The metaphors created so much detail and visuals to create the illusion that I was there and that I was meant to feel something. I believe this poem was written with the intent to make readers feel emotions. This piece reminded me of poems I have read recently, I genuinely enjoyed reading this piece.

The time period was piece was written in was the 19th century to the early 20th century. Compared to the romantic era the realism period was much more focused on the real issues in life. Due to this, it led to industrialization and urbanization. Industrialization is an emphasis on industrialized economic system which means this era went from the Agrarian economy to machine manufacturing (Western Governors University C100). Urbanization can be described as “the movement of diverse populations into urban areas” (Western Governors University C100). Like said before, this era wasn’t focused on made-up stories, but rather real-life experiences. These writings focused on emotional and touchy subjects, which were very detailed. These writings were meant to make people feel something, to make people aware of what’s going on in this era. This writing was extremely eye opening for many people of this time.

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The author of this poem was Matthew Arnold, a poet and critic. He was born December 24, 1822 and laid to rest on April 15, 1888. Although, Matthews personal life was not on record, it was known he was drawn to France. He utilized a lot of his inspirations and writing from French ideas. During his career, he went from social to theological writings. Arnold was an exceptionally diverse writer, and experimented with many different writing styles. Matthew Arnold experienced “exposure to storms of passion in the Alps” while he still longed for love, he also understood the needs for human nature (Poetry Foundation, Matthew Arnold). Due to this, I believe he wrote Dover Beach because his need for love and the need for human nature.

During the realism era the literature was revolved around real-life situations, and experiences. Some instances would be, writing about sadness, life issues, like destitution or brutality. The work indicated real-life feelings, for instance, sadness, human nature, and love. This time period was exceedingly open to human emotions and experiences. Dover Beach is a perfect example for writings of this time. It includes feelings, such as love, sadness and longing. Which again, reflects on real-life situations. This piece explores the human emotions and human nature, it ties the two using metaphors to create visual pictures and feelings. These writings were much more common in this time period compared to previous ones. Previous writings included more stylized stories, which is the complete opposite of this time era.

In this day and age, some people really enjoy poetry, some not so much, and some really enjoy dark poetry. It’s all based on preference, in this era most people can relate to the feelings of this poem and other ones, because its common to have deep poetry around the bookstores and online. Its common for young adults to be drawn to poems like this, because it can be a familiar feeling. For some young adults it can be an emotionally difficult time. Many young adults have stress, work, and other issues to deal with, which can lead to sadness, and reading poetry can help some adults not feel so alone in this time. In this era the real-life experiences, love, sadness and comparing it to human nature is extremely common. This writing style creates visuals and feelings to make someone feel something, to help someone relate.

I gained more knowledge about this era during my research, and reading of the poem, Dover Beach. I knew that deep, dark poetry was common back then, I was just unaware of how dark it was back then. I also feel like this poem was directed to a human feeling, and not just the ocean. My feelings towards the work hasn’t changed since researching. I still feel the same way about the authors use of metaphors to create feelings. Additionally, I still believe that it was made to make people feel something, to visual the ocean. Due to the research I learned that Dover Beach was created because of love and human nature. Which only helps me understand more of what the poem is about, it makes me understand the feeling that Arnold wanted people to feel when they read it. This work is something I would recommend for teens, and adults to read.

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