A November Landscape Analysis

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Dorothy Livesay’s “Winter” and “A November Landscape” by E. J. Pratt are both short poems with similar tones and nuances. The two seem to be metaphors personifying the winter season with comparable themes. While both poems have a theme of captivity, “A November Landscape’ ends with a note of freedom and ‘Winter’ finishes with one of hopelessness.

There are images of suppression to be found in these poems. In ‘A November Landscape’ we find phrases such as: “November came today and seized the whole…” and “...rain-winds patrol the earth…” November and the rain-winds are being personified as harsh, those that cause oppression. They took the earth captive and controlled it. In ‘Winter’ we can also find these phrases: “...our stumbling feet were
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“A November Landscape” has un unpromising beginning and ends with hope while “Winter” begins almost optimistically yet has a disheartening ending. The opening of ‘A November Landscape’ contains phrases such as: “ bereft of bird and leaf, of body and of soul…” The land is devoid of life, painting quite a depressing picture. However, it ends much more optimistically with words like: “...and yet…” and “...when April lured the crocus through the snow…” The poem takes a turn for the best, displaying a chance at life. ‘Winter’ starts with sentences like: “Winter has turned reluctantly at last, unfastened the sharp snares...” and “Winter has gone.” It seems as if the oppresser is leaving, granting the prisoner freedom. The ending, though, is far less optimistic: “...we must be captives still…” and “...speak with his bitter breath…” The author speaks of how even though Spring has come, she cannot save them from Winter’s lingering grasp. The people are still under Winter’s phantom control, even if he has already left. They behave like him, treating each other coldly, having completely adopted his ways from being with him for too long.

These two poems exhibit the same themes, but send a different message each. The contrast between the order of events is significant in understanding both works. While the poems are laced with captivity and oppression, “A November Landscape” gives a more
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