You are on page 1of 2

Actions caused by sudden anger result in disastrous consequences.

Explain
with examples from the poem Farewell to barn, stack and tree. (an answer to
the question 01 of the model paper).
As in many traditional ballads, this poem tells a story of a conflict resulting in violent
death, a consequence of sudden anger caused by a triangular romantic relationship
involving the speaker, his brother Maurice and an unknown lady. The young man
confesses to the narrator that he has killed his brother. Curiously, we are not told the
reason. Instead, the poet has focused his interest on the young mans state of mind.
It is clear though, that the young man has acted out of sudden anger, or, to use legal
terminology, sudden provocation. This is because he begins to regret his act immediately
after the murder. His state of mind is given to us through the words of the young man. In
fact, the whole poem is about this young murderers farewell to a friend named Terrence
who, in turn, tells the story to us.
The young man seems to have understood the disastrous consequences of his terrible
act, now that he has come back to the normalty. We can see that he is suffering from a
deep sense of guilt. This can be seen from the stanza 4:
And heres a blody hand to shake
My bloody hand and I
The repetition of bloody hands suggests his deep sense of guilt and regret. He is also
aware that the terrible act he has committed will force him to leave his family and the
loved ones behind. We can see this in the 1 st stanza when he says:
Terrence look your last at me
For I come home no more.
In the second verse, the narrator begins to feel another disastrous consequence of his
hasty action: The pain and grief caused to the others, especially to his mother. Speaking
of his mother he says:
She had two sons at rising day
Tonight shell be alone.
In the last verse too, the narrator feels his mothers painful grief and the sense of loss
when he says: And long will stand the empty plate/And dinner will be cold.
He also has forfieted the warmth of friendship and the communal life as a result of his
henious crime. For example, the 5th stanza makes a moving reference to the enjoyments
of communal life such as Racing on the green at Lammastide. The repetition of the
wordf longf in the last verse also conveys to the reader how deeply painful it is to him.
In this way, the poet makes us feel the great distress of his mind and the awareness of
the enormity of his crime through the pointed references he makes to his mother and his

victim. He strongly feels that he has forfeited the close warm relationship he has had with
his family and his friends as a penalty. As the story is told to us by a third party who just
conveys the story to us objectively without any comments or moralizing, we feel all the
more the dire consequences of the murder committed by the speaker whose action was
triggered by sudden anger.
Repetition and the dramatic quality imparted by the use of dialogue form which are
typical of ballads contribute to the powerful impact made by this ballad on the listner or
the reader.