© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Darkling Thrush

The Darkling Thrush


by Thomas Hardy

The Darkling Thrush Theme of Isolation

"The Darkling Thrush" is practically the love child of "All By Myself" and solitary confinement. Whether our speaker is an outcast from society, forced to roam the earth during the dark hours when all other humankind is at home with family and friends, or whether he just chooses to spend his time in private thought, the poem rigorously denies him any sort of connection or communication. Then again, maybe that changes by the end of the poem. Do the speaker and the thrush have a moment of unspoken communion? Or are they both just as alone as they were before?

Questions About Isolation

  1. Is the speaker of this poem old or young? How does his age affect your interpretation of his viewpoint?
  2. Is the bird singing for an audience? And if so, is that audience the speaker? How does your answer change the way you think of the poem?
  3. Does the speaker feel a connection with the bird? How and why?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Hardy packs "The Darkling Thrush" with personified bits of Nature, which allows the speaker to feel like he's got constant companionship.

Hardy packs "The Darkling Thrush" with personified bits of Nature, which only emphasizes how lonely the one human figure in the poem actually is.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...