The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy
The Darkling Thrush Theme of Perseverance
"The Darkling Thrush" is the story of a little bitty bird taking on the big, bad world. Sure, times are tough. It's cold and gray and awful out there – as our speaker makes abundantly clear every chance that he gets. But, hey, what does the bird have to lose? He's on his way out, anyway. Might as well sing a little song to pass the time, eh? We get a sense of just how miraculous the bird's perseverance is by comparing him to our less-than-hopeful speaker. The thrush is cheerful enough on his own, but next to our speaker, this little guy is the Miss Congeniality of the century!
Questions About Perseverance
- Why do you think that the thrush is singing?
- Does the speaker even try to understand the bird's song? Could he be misreading it?
- Is the speaker a fighter or a wallower? How can you tell?
- Is the speaker's lack of drive or determination justified? By what?
Chew on This
By ending "The Darkling Thrush" with the promise of Hope, Hardy allows possibility to emerge out of a long and bitter struggle against darkness.
By concluding "The Darkling Thrush" with a bird's song, Hardy emphasizes the ways that happiness remains out of the scope of human comprehension.