Study Guide

Afterwards Setting

By Thomas Hardy

Setting

The setting of the poem is difficult to pin down because it changes with every stanza, depending on where and when the speaker is imagining his death. All of the possible settings suggest the countryside – sometimes in May, sometimes in winter, sometimes at night, sometimes at dusk, but always surrounded by the beauties of nature. The last stanza has a church ringing the "bell of quittance," and the neighbors appear in every stanza, so we're guessing that the poem-world is in a quiet, English country village – not unlike the village of Stinsford, where Hardy spent most of his adult life.

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