Study Guide

Mariana Sadness

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson


In "Mariana," we have a poem about a jilted woman who lives in isolation, pining for her lost love. Sadness? Oh, you bet that's going to be a main theme here. But it's not just a sad love story. The poem is also about how sadness affects the way we look at the world, as well as the way we project our emotions onto things that don't have any emotions themselves. Mariana's grief is so powerful that she can't emerge from it—talk about sad.

Questions About Sadness

  1. How do we know what Mariana is sad about? Is she the one who tells us, or does something, or someone, else let us know?
  2. How does the poem's use of pathetic fallacy alert us to her sadness? Where does pathetic fallacy appear?
  3. Does Mariana's sadness cease at the end of the poem? How can you tell?
  4. Do we get any clues about what happens to her? If so, what?

Chew on This

Mariana may just be clinically depressed—too bad antidepressants weren't invented yet. (Then again, we wouldn't have this awesome poem.)

The farmhouse, and the scenery surrounding it, is hindering Mariana. Her surroundings are adding to her depressed mood.

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