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Morris’ Use Of Disillusionment In The Haystack In The Floods

3 Pages 864 Words

Fear, hopelessness, suffering and finally detachment take hold of our protagonist, Jehane, in William Morris’ “The Haystack in the Floods.” Being put through a slow and tedious journey that ends in trauma, Jehane will fall through all of the stages of disillusionment. An analysis and explanation of these stages will be made to argue the wonderful use of this disillusionment.
In the lines “Had she come all the way for this, / To part at last without a kiss?”(1-2) and “That her own eyes might see him slain/ Beside the haystack in the floods?”(4-5) Morris uses the method of antypophora, the use of a question and answer to foreshadow events to come. In the next stanza Jehane recounts the trials of their journey. Jehane is introduced as a loyal lover following her knight even though she is exhausted and fearful of the situation at hand.
“She rode astride as troopers do;
With kirtle kilted at her knee,
To which the mud splash’d wretchedly;
And the wet dripp’d from every tree
Upon her head and heavy hair,
And on her eyelids broad and fair;
The tears and rain ran down her face.” (8-14)
Morris uses the dismal darkness of the rain and the hiding of her tears to show her strength as a person. However, her strength is beginning to dwindle.
“Ah me! she had but little ease;
And often for pure doubt and dread
She sobb'd, made giddy in the head
By the swift riding; while, for cold,
Her slender fingers scarce could hold
The wet reins; yea, and scarcely, too,
She felt the foot within her shoe
Against the stirrup: all for this,
To part at last without a kiss
Beside the haystack in the floods.” (22-31)
The numbness of Jehane’s hands and feet represent the mental pain she is enduring. Because she can’t feel her hands she struggles to hold on to the reigns. This is a foreshadowing her inability to hold her sanity in later stanzas the work. Her personal weakness momentarily showing through invok...

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