The Thorn Analysis

The Thorn By Williams Wordsworth

When first reading this poem, it comes off confusing to a lot of readers. The poem starts out by talking about an aged thorn, overgrown by moss that seems to be clasped around the thorn pulling it to the ground. The author says "poor thorn" in stanza two line 6. The thorn sits on the highest mountain top. By the thorn stands a mossy hill which Wordsworth calls "A beauteous heap." Also by the Thorn and mossy hill is a small muddy pond that never seems to be dry. The author then introduces a new character to the poem named Martha Ray. She often goes to the spot on that mountain top and weeps to herself crying "Oh misery! Oh misery! Oh woe is me! Oh misery!" Wordsworth may be suggesting to us that the beauteous heap is an infants grave because in several parts of the poem (ex. Stanza VI, line 6, Stanza IX, line 5) he describes the hill "like" an infants grave. Going to the spot when the women is there is described as a "dare" in the poem, this could be because she is sad and always weeping or she may be crazy, or because she in depression. A common question might come to mind when reading this poem; Why does the women go to the top of this mountain and weep? Well the author answers this with the best to his abilities by saying what he knows previously about this womens life. She was supposedly going to marry a man named Stephan Hill, but then on the wedding day he left her for another women, the poem then describes the women 6 months later as pregnant. We can assume Stephan Hill is the father, and this is why the women goes up to the mountain top to weep. Before she was pregnant people described her as crazy, and in the poem Wordsworth suggests the baby turned her sane. No one knows whether the baby was born or not, or if it died during childbirth, or if the woman may in fact killed the baby her self, either way, the reader gets the idea that the child died and was buried under the beautiful hill covered in moss. Then the poems says the speaker himself saw the woman; she was crying and saying again, "Oh misery! Oh misery!"

This poem leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions, or answers that could be true, but the poem never really justifies if its suggestions are actually correct. Throughout the poem we hear a lot of different opinions, and views on the woman. Questions that come to my mind are; What does the thorn symbolize and how does it relate to this obviously sad woman?

The quote "every rose has its thorn" stands out to me in this poem. Below this beautiful hill of moss, which the author uses 2-3 stanzas to emphasizes its beauty, is a dead infant, which was either killed or died during childbirth. And the fact that something so incredibly beautiful is hiding something so tragic, justifies the quote.