Change - Analysis of 'Growing Old' by Matthew Arnold

Essay by lil_azn77High School, 11th gradeA, April 2007

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Growing OldWhat is it to grow old?Is it to lose the glory of the form,The lustre of the eye?Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?Yes, but not for this alone.

Is it to feel our strength -Not our bloom only, but our strength -decay?Is it to feel each limbGrow stiffer, every function less exact,Each nerve more weakly strung?Yes, this, and more! but not,Ah, 'tis not what in youth we dreamed 'twould be!'Tis not to have our lifeMellowed and softened as with sunset-glow,A golden day's decline!'Tis not to see the worldAs from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,And heart profoundly stirred;And weep, and feel the fulness of the past,The years that are no more!It is to spend long daysAnd not once feel that we were ever young.

It is to add, immuredIn the hot prison of the present, monthTo month with weary pain.

It is to suffer this,And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:Deep in our hidden heartFesters the dull remembrance of a change,But no emotion -none.

It is -last stage of all -When we are frozen up within, and quiteThe phantom of ourselves,To hear the world applaud the hollow ghostWhich blamed the living man.

Matthew ArnoldGrowing oldTitle: Growing oldText type: PoemComposer: Arnold, Matthew'Growing old' is a poem which shows the changes everyone will eventually go through when ageing. It explores a person's feelings towards old age, and how they change as a feeling of being old takes over.

The composer sees growing old as much more than most people, he sees it as a loss of spirit and soul, and the last stage of humanity whereas many people associate growing old with a loss of attraction and energy. This can be seen when he addresses the old person as a 'hollow ghost' in the last...