by Christina Rossetti
Up-Hill Theme of Truth
This poem never specifically mentions truth, but it's actually everywhere in "Up-Hill." If you look at the relationship between Speaker #1 and Speaker #2, you'll notice that Speaker #1 just seems to take all Speaker #2's answers for granted which is kind of a big deal. We mean, this journey sounds pretty dangerous. Is Speaker #1 really so confident that an inn will be waiting at the end of the road that he doesn't even want to get an address so he can GoogleMap directions?
Questions About Truth
- It's pretty obvious that Speaker #1 assumes Speaker #2 is telling the truth, but do you think that's wise? Do you trust the speakers in this poem? Why or why not?
- Does Rossetti do anything technically (we're talking meter, form, word choice, and the like) to suggest that Speaker #2 is either trustworthy or untrustworthy? Try choosing a poetic device and making your case.
- What do you make of the relationship between Speaker #1 and Speaker #2? How would you describe it? How does the relationship influence your reading of the poem?
Chew on This
Speaker #2 doesn't actually know anything, nor does he (or she) ever imply that what is being said is the truth. Speaker #2 is just trying to be a good friend and calm Speaker #1's jitters, the same way you tell your friend a big test or game will "definitely" go well, even if you know they didn't prepare as much as they should have.
Speaker #1 actually already knows the truth about his situation. The questions are all about confirming what he already knows. (That's a good thing, since Speaker #2 isn't exactly dishing out specific answers.)