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Compare how two texts portray travel as a personal


For this essay, I will be comparing the texts 'The Woman

Opposite', Text 19, and 'Adlestrop' Text 32. I have
picked these two poems for several reasons – First of
all, both are short poems, focusing on fleeting moments
in time, both have undertones of pensive emotion and a
strong sense of loss.

In Text 19, it begins with within the first couplet 'I'm

on the 1900 from Paddington' which is representative of
rigidity and predictability, which contrasts severely
with the rest of the poem, which is influenced by an
unexpected emotional response, rather than a planned,
regular event.

The second couplet uses the terms 'a young woman' 'a
folder' 'a copy of Chaucer', by almost describing the
young woman as an object, and references her in the same
way as he describes a book and a folder, it almost
emphasises the unusual nature of the event, leaving the
author to resort to depersonalise the situation. This is
very similar to how the unusual stop in the poem
'Adlestrop' is presented. Edward Thomas uses certain
description such as 'no one left and no one came' 'on the
bare platform' showing the isolation of the place the
train has stopped in, all the while showing a personal
emotion to show through, by use of casual language and
simple diction.

Both in the third and fourth couplet of Text 19, the poem
shows an educated voice, showing his knowledge of Troilus
and Criseyde, yet fear at the same time, afraid of making
a tangible two-way engagement, and showing frustration
and forced logic of not being able to make contact due to
her not being opposite, and by her being next to him,
cutting off and chance he had of a conversation.

This is very similar to how Thomas is shown to feel in

Adlestrop. Whilst the station at first appears isolated
and bare, 'Someone cleared his throat' This disembodied
human noise emphasis the lack of people in the scene,
contributing to an already present melancholy and
nostalgic atmosphere.
This is indicative of Thomas's current emotional state
(at the start of WWI, and his age makes him either likely
to be called up for service, or is already aware of being
called up) In reality, the section shows the beauty
outside of the station, and Thomas's frustration at
feeling trapped, both emotionally and literally, as he is
vastly intrigued by the natural world outside in the
country, and yet is unable to deviate from his journey
into an unknown part of England for the sake of

In text 19, the fifth and sixth couplets show a

colloquial and informal register, replicating human
speech, “can't” “she goes to the buffet, or something”
“What I really want” which expands upon the passive
construction and nature of couplet four, allowing the
original idea of only being able to glance evolving into
a whole scenario of indirect contact and expression of
feelings. The use of a less formal register and
linguistic style is present in Adlestrop, where in the
second half of the poem, the repetition of 'and' before
several sentences and words provides undertones of
writing with emotion rather than logical and literary

In couplets seven, eight and nine, the wording and

lexical style is still an informal chatty register, ' I
can't get a look-in' This is corrosponding to her
evolution from an insignificant woman on the train, to an
object of his desire, 'We're as close as can be without
touching, and when I try to look out into the darkness –
there she is, reflected in triplicate'

The use of the present tense connects the reader with the
author, allowing empathy she show through in order to
feel the same emotions he is attempting to convey. This
is contrast to Adlestrop, where the author has described
the experience in the past, allowing his emotional
involvement for Adlestrop (especially with the natural,
vivid beauty he describes) to shine throughout 'A
willows, will-herb and grass and meadowsweet, and
haycocks dry' This runs throughout the poem, but is
especially relevant here, as it leading to the conclusion
of the poem, and effectively the end of his obsession.
Both poems are short poems, focusing on only minutes of
an assumed journey. Both use the first person, and the
reader assume the position as reading as the author would
in order to impart emotional memories onto the reader,
through use of internalised thoughts and feelings, and of
course, in both poems nothing actually happens in a
tangible sense, only affecting the poets psyche and how
they determine a situation.

- Nick Brett