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Lexi Perez

Mr. Munoz
AP English-4
23 September 2014
Circle of Life
In Dylan Thomass poem, Fern Hill, the stages of life are compared to the seasons of the
year by using literary elements such as symbolism, allusion and imagery. Thomas uses colors as
symbolism to help set the mood and create an image in the readers mind. He also makes biblical
references, or allusions, to create the setting of the Fern Hill and to show the innocence of the
child. Over the course of the poem, Thomas uses the seasons of spring, summer, autumn and
winter as a guide through his life to emphasizes how growing up with innocence and
imagination, along with having the memories of his childhood, is a good thing.
In the first couple of stanzas, Thomas is speaking from the point of view of a carefree
child. Now I was young and easy under the apple boughs. (1) He uses simile to express his joy
by comparing his happiness to the very green grass during spring as shown in line two. Spring is
also meant to symbolize his life as a young child by using references of the color green, which is
a very bright and common color during spring. He expresses his happiness and innocence again
through metaphor and symbolism when stating I was green and carefree. (10) As a child, the
innocence of life is still seen through the eyes of a child. The symbolism of the color green is
meant as happy, young and carefree, which are all the characteristics of a young child. Thomas
uses repetition by stating he was green again in line fifteen to emphasize his happy and carefree
state of mind as a child. Thomas then shows the imagination children have when stating his royal
status throughout the towns. And honored among wagons I was prince of the apple towns. (6)

The imagination that children have shows that they still believe anything is possible in the world
and they still have innocent minds. Thomas later makes a biblical reference when he states And
the sabbath rang slowly, in the pebbles of the holy streams. (17-18) In biblical times the sabbath
day was used as a holy rest day for Christians and by referencing it, Thomas shows the
importance of Christ in his life. Thomas later uses a metaphor when describing the speed of the
horses in the setting of the Fern Hills as a child. After the first couple of stanzas, Thomas shows
a change in seasons which symbolically means a change in age as well.
In the last couple of stanzas Thomas uses the same color green as before but it is used to
symbolize how naive he was as a child and how this color has changed him over time. This is
still seen as a good thing because at the beginning, he was happy and carefree and now he
realizes that time is passing him by and death is getting closer, yet he is still happy.. The color of
green deepens as the poem continues which means the season is changing to fall. On lines
twenty-nine to thirty, Thomas references to the sun shining early in the morning making a
reference to his childhood when his happiness and his life was bright. He is looking back at his
memories of being a child and remembering all the good times he used to have. Thomas then
makes a biblical reference in line thirty by comparing the garden of Eden to his childhood on the
hills. It was Adam and maiden. (30) The reference to the garden of Eden could have also been
because of the garden which usually has many flowers and beautiful plants that bloom during the
spring time. He makes another biblical reference when he makes the statement So it must have
been after the birth of the simple light. (33) Thomas makes a reference to the creation of the
Earth when God says let there be light in the beginning of the Bible. Thomas later makes another
biblical reference when states In the lamb white days (51), making a reference to the Lamb of
God. The white days could also symbolize the coming of winter or the white snow. Thomas

makes biblical references throughout the poem to show the innocence he still has and to show his
religious side. At the end of the poem Thomas states, Time held me green and dying. (58)
When the color white is introduced in line fifty-one, it is meant to symbolize his already old age
in the snow of winter but at the end he uses the color green to show he is still happy even though
he is dying.
Throughout the poem, Fern Hill, Dylan Thomas uses many literary devices which
include allusion, imagery, symbolism, simile and metaphor to get his theme of how life changes.
Thomas uses the seasons of spring to winter to show how quickly life changes just as the seasons
do. He also makes many biblical references to show his faith in God as well as show his
innocence as he grows older. Thomas also uses color to symbolize how the seasons change as
well as to also show his innocence even when he is older. Throughout the poem, Thomas shows
the reader how life changes and time goes on but the memories will always stay with you, just as
well as your innocence.