Analysis Pages

Themes in Uphill

Themes Examples in Uphill:

Text of the Poem

🔒 3

"all who seek..."   (Text of the Poem)

The word “seek” frames the questioner’s path as a spiritual journey: a quest for salvation, for a bed at road’s end. To “seek” implies a high degree of intention. The guide’s reply is cryptic. There are “beds for all who come.” Whether “all” refers solely to seekers or encompasses non-seekers as well is unclear. This lack of clarity is part of the poem’s purpose. There are no simple answers to spiritual questions.

"Of labour you shall find the sum...."   (Text of the Poem)

This line introduces an intriguing complication to the poem’s concept of the afterlife. When reworded, the line’s logic can be understood in a different way: in the afterlife, one receives comfort equal to the amount of labour done during one’s life. The precise nature of the labour is not clear, but one assumes it carries a sense of religious morality and thus is tied to good deeds.

"road wind uphill..."   (Text of the Poem)

The language Rossetti uses to describe the road directs our attention to the poem’s central conceit: the road is the path of life. Like our lives, the road “wind[s]” in the sense that its twists and turns are unpredictable. It is “uphill” in the sense that it requires of us ongoing struggle and toil.

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