Heart and Mind-By Edith Sitwell

In our Literature class, we read a poem called «Heart and Mind» which is a poem we will be tested on in our International exam, the IGCSE. After reading and analyisng it all together our teacher, Pato, gave us an esay question and told us to write an essay about it.

Here’s my essay:

Essay Question: «The poem extends the argument that the heart and the mind are irrevocably different. Comment closely on this»

         Heart and mind, by Edith Sitwell, is a brilliantly crafted poem that deals with two binary opposites which are the heart and the mind. These are portrayed by three different narrators. The writer uses three narrators through all the poem, to convey the disparity between this two. In spite of the variety of point of views, they all end up giving the same message, which is that if in relationship there’s only passion and no love, it won’t succeed at all.

         To begin with, in the first stanza the writer uses a Lion as the first narrator of the poem. Through this fierce animal, he introduces his focal point which is that if there’s only passion and no love in a relationship it won’t succeed. The lion tries to demonstrate the Lioness the importance of heart when it comes to a relationship by referring to the passing of time, by bringing back the “amber dust” skin the lioness used to have. Furthermore, he also uses the word “remember” to bring back the memories of their glorious days of brightness and passion which now, are over. The king of the jungle, emphasises on the fact of the aging and the loss of beauty, because as they become old, they start losing their elegance and youthfulness.  That’s why he points that, when you get old, the passion is lost, so if there’s no love from the heart but only physical and passional love, the relationship will end. By highlighting this he gives us the message that if they lose passion, they still can be one when they die, but only if love is of the heart and the mind, not only physical.

          Moreover, in the second and the third stanza, the narrator is switched into a skeleton. He emphasizes the fact that time is running out and that nothing is eternal. He uses the expression of “mourning heat of the sun” to express the fact that everything will die even nature dies in every autumn and winter. He points out that time will finish for all of us and in spite of the fact that passion had put you together with someone in the past, if there’s no love at all, now when the passion it’s finish the relationship will not survive. But if there’s love the relationship will still be one even after death. The skeleton also takes into account that passion is stronger than mind that’s why when we are in love sometimes we don’t take good decisions because “the mind is but a foolish wind” and if love is not present, this decisions will affect our future.

          Furthermore, in the fourth and last stanza the narrator changes to a sun which is talking to the moon. As we had developed in the other three stanzas the Sun is trying to emphasize the importance of the two concepts sticking together and also to show the huge difference between them. The sun tells the moon which is represent as a”lonely white crone” that life is not forever and the love of the mind and passion it’s not enough at all. He also points out that the two concepts should stick together in spite of the fact that never until time is finish “the fire of the heart and the fire of the mind be one” as they are irrevocably different.

          All in all, in this extract you can clearly see a contrast between love of mind which is based in passion, and the love of the heart, which is based in feelings and emotions. To convey this the author uses three narrators which clearly portrait the benefits that loving from the heart gives to you and also points out the fact that when love from the heart and from the mind are stick together, they are stronger. To sum up, it gives us the readers a very clear message which is that is that you need more than passion for a relationship to succeed.

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