Want to practise your comparative and evaluation skills between 'Winter Swans' and other poems in the 'Love and Relationships' cluster?
Well, you've come to the right place, because this activity will help you learn how to compare and evaluate ideas, attitudes and themes at the same time. It requires a bit of multitasking, but you can do it!
It'll take some good deduction skills, as well as an understanding of the themes and ideas you want to discuss. You need to think about how the poet presents ideas differently/similarly in both poems.
1. Make your point!
In 'Winter Swans', Sheers uses natural imagery to present nature as a direct influence on the couple's romantic relationship. The quote, "I noticed our hands [...] swum the distance between us" uses reverse personification to illustrate the swans' impact in unifying the couple.
2. Link to another poem!
Similarly, in 'Neutral Tones', Hardy also uses natural imagery to present the status of the couple. The quote "your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree..." really shows the impact that nature has on the speaker's attitudes towards love. The explicit adjective 'God-curst' vilifies the sun (makes the sun a villain). The fact that the speaker includes this in a tripartite (gang of three) list, which starts with "your face", shows his negative relationship with nature and his ex-lover.
Unlike 'Winter Swans', where natural imagery is used to show the direct influence of nature on unifying the couple, reinforcing their love, 'Neutral Tones' does the opposite. It uses natural imagery to portray the separation of two lovers.
While Sheers looks at nature as something which unifies and influences, Hardy views nature as something separating and distancing.
A tip: it'll help to jot down any new or helpful advice you get given in this activity!