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Uphill by Christina Rossetti, Outline Example

Pages: 1

Words: 593

Outline

Introduction

Thesis:  This poem represents a conversation between the writer and an unidentified counsellor.  The writer is seeking answers as to whether her difficult life will continue to be a struggle and what comfort she will find at the end.  It can be regarded as religious (Christian) in nature with references to a “heaven” or a safe haven.

Life is a continuous struggle

  1. Claim 1 : The writer’s life is a struggle and that it will continue to be so.
  2. “Does the road wind up-hill all the way?” – the writer’s life has been difficult so far.
  3. “Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?” – she is hoping that it will not continue that way.
  4. The phrasing of the questions shows a sense of fatalism, i.e. she is not expecting the answers to be anything other than a confirmation of the way she is feeling.
  5. “From morn to night, my friend” – life is, and will continue to be, a struggle and that struggle will only cease at the end or at death.

Death will bring comfort and rest

  1. Claim 1: The end of the journey will bring comfort and rest.
  2. “But is there for the night a resting-place?” – the writer fears what will happen at death and after.
  3. She will find comfort under “A roof for when the slow dark hours begin” – that she will be sheltered and secure when death is close (or after death).
  4. “May not the darkness hide it from my face?” – the writer is concerned that she will not find the shelter because of the darkness.
  5. She is told that she “…cannot miss that inn”, meaning that death is inevitable for everyone.
  6. The reference to an inn could be a Christian reference to the story of Mary and Joseph not being able to get a room at the inn just before Jesus’ birth.

We are not alone on our journey through life

  1. Claim 1: The writer is not alone on her journey.
  2. “Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?” – the writer is concerned about being alone on the journey and that the journey into the afterlife will be as difficult as her life.
  3. “Those who have gone before” – she will meet all those that have passed on before her in the afterlife.
  4. “Then must I knock, or call when just in sight” – the writer is concerned about the process of passing on and is told that she will not be kept “standing at the door” – someone (perhaps God or Saint Peter) will look after her and guide into death and whatever lies beyond.

Everyone on the “journey” through life will find comfort and rest in death.

  1. Claim 1: After all the hardship and struggle that life throws out, death brings comfort and rest.
  2. “Of labour you shall find the sum” – the sum total of all the struggles in life, will mean the greater the comfort after death.
  3. “Will there be beds for me and all who seek?” – whether everyone who has had a similarly difficult life be provided with the same comfort after death.
  4. “Yea beds for all who come” everyone will be received in death equally if they have shown faith throughout their lives.
  5. The reference to “beds” is a link back to the “inn” metaphor and perhaps to the story of Mary and Joseph, for whom there were no beds left at the inn.

Conclusion

The poem is a confirmation of everyone’s struggle through life, but that at death we will find comfort and rest in “heaven”.  The religious references are Christian in nature and there is no reference to the possibility of rebirth after death that is found in other religions.

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