James Thomson's “Winter”: The Personification of Nature

             In the “Winter” section of The Seasons, James Thomson personifies Nature. The literary representation of Winter thereby becomes an investigation into cause and effect based on human characteristics. “Winter comes to rule” the year (1) like a leader who rules a country; it falls “oppressive o’er the world” (58). In the first section of “Winter,” the season is seen as a powerful “Father” (72) or “great Parent” (106) who has control over people, plants, and animals. In this sense, Thomson’s investigation into winter creates a hierarchical order in the natural world: Nature is a “King” (197). The oppression of people by Winter is then paralleled with “Oppression’s iron rod” (380) in the political world. Thomson thereby suggests that Nature’s oppression, like political oppression, must be thoroughly investigated (“searched/Into the horrors” [360-61]) and brought to an end.
             Thomson moves from “the wild depth of winter” (425) to a “sheltered solitary scene” (429). In other words, Thomson retreats from the natural world to a “humanized” world (435) where he is untouched by Nature. His list of historically great men suggests an ever-increasing amount of human knowledge. With knowledge, a person can search “nature’s boundless frame” (575) and envision “where the mind,/In endless growth and infinite ascent,/Rises from state to state, and world to world” (606-8). The poetic movement from the chaotic state of winter to a peaceful retreat for study, suggests that through increased knowledge people will eventually find a way to control Nature.
             This “study” of Nature is best exemplified in the section beginning “What art thou, frost?” (714). Nature must be investigated for all of its secrets. Significantly, in the structure of the poem, human enjoyment of winter (in the form of skates [769] and sleds [773]) comes in the section immediately following the...

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James Thomson's “Winter”: The Personification of Nature. (1969, December 31). In MegaEssays.com. Retrieved 12:52, December 06, 2016, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/95701.html