This Living Hand

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ThisLiving Hand

JohnKeats`s poem is a murky depiction of the relationship that existsbetween love and death. John states &quotThis living hand…warm andcapable&quot (Keats, line 1). This line reveals the power of lovepeople who care for each other are affectionate and can dounbelievable things to protect their union. However, if the affectionbetween these individuals passes on, they become cold toward eachother and may even wish death upon each other. As Keats says,&quotThat…would wish…own heart dry…blood, So…myveins…life…stream again”(Keats, line 6).In this context, the writer depicts a picture of two lovers who viewthemselves as one thus, one partner wishes death upon his lover butexpresses the demise as his own. Although John Keats’s poem bringsto the fore the love and death theme in an obscure manner, one canalso apply it to real life.

Keats’sperspective depicts a thin line between love and its demise. The poetpaints a picture of a living hand, which is both warm and capable(Keats,line 1).He proceeds to contend that the hand grasps earnestly (Keats,line 2).However, the writer also asserts that the hand can become cold anddistant. He affirms, “if… cold,Andin…icy silence of…tomb…haunt thy days…chill…dreaming(Keats,line 3 – 6).John`swriting reveals the issues that affect people in their day to daylives. People usually meet and fall in love with each other. Theseindividuals usually stay with each other even through the toughesttimes of their lives (earnest grasping). The affection between thesepersons is, mostly, alive and visible to everyone in society.However, after these individuals break up or after their love foreach other dwindles, they start distancing themselves from eachother. Eventually, their love turns into a cold and spiteful affair,and, sometimes, they go to the extent of wishing death for eachother.

Keatsalso compares love with death. At the beginning of his piece, Johnshows how warm love can be. He says, “Thisliving hand…warm and capable” (Keats, line 1). Conversely, healso pens, “if…cold&nbspAndin…icy silence of…tomb…haunt thy days”(Keats, line 3 – 6). This portrayal shows the warmth that isassociated with being alive. In essence, being alive is related tojoy, affection, and, in some cases, devotion to a particular belief.Death, however, is connected to cold, silence, and agony. Thiscomparison is also in tandem with the people who fall in love, and,later, stop feeling affectionate toward each other. Such individuals,at first, see the world in a positive light, and, in some cases,believe that nothing can break their bond. However, after a fallout,these individuals become cold and distant. The bliss, fondness, anddedication that these people had for each other is replaced by achilly, quiet, and painful feeling, which can be associated withdeath. In other words, these individuals die on the inside, and theunderstanding that they were lovers becomes a source of anguish.

Johnshows how love pushes innocent people to become resentful. He says,&quotThat thou…wish…own heart dry…blood, So…myveins…life…stream again&quot (Keats, line 5 – 6). Keats showsinnocence by depicting how an individual can love his partner to theextent of wishing that the blood in his heart dries. Ordinarily, noperson can desire death upon himself. This statement (line 5) showshow selfless love can make people. However, if, for one reason oranother, these people stop being affectionate toward each other, theybegin feeling bitter and aggrieved. The writer shows how the peoplethat fall out of love resent each other. He states that theseindividuals hate each other so much that they start desiring thedeath of their spouses to feel alive again (line 6). This contrastshows that, in the beginning, both parties had good intentions towardeach other, but after the death of the love that existed betweenthese parties, the good intentions turned sour. Such developments arecommon in the real world, where people show antipathy toward eachother to the point of seeking ways of ending the lives of each other.

Keatsalso discusses how, after a fallout, the demise of a lover can bringjoy to the previous partner. He states &quotAnd thou…conscience –calm`d – … towards you&quot (Keats, line 7 – 8). After statinghow an ex-lover desires the demise of his partner (line 5 – 6),John proceeds to depict the extent to which this death is reassuring.The writer reveals the manner in which an ex`s conscience calms downafter his partner’s end. This depiction is typical in the physicalworld, where lovers feel good after their spouses die because they donot get to enjoy life with other people. The calming effect settlesin because the affection between these individuals never diescompletely. The same argument applies to a person`s death. After aperson dies, his memories continue to exist among the living. Thus,in spite of two lovers experiencing a fallout, their affection foreach other persists. The demise of one of the partners, therefore,means that the other spouse will not have to live with the agony ofseeing his previous lover with another person.

Ina recap of the above discussion, although the love and death themeappears in JohnKeats’s poem in an obscure manner, the audience can apply it toreal life. Keats uses the human hand since it is a symbol of bothlove and hate. The writer uses affection to depict life and spite toreveal death. Affectionate people are warm and devoted to each otherwhile spiteful individuals are cold and distant. The hand is warmwhere love exists and cold when people fall out of love.


Keats,John. &quot, Now Warm and Capable.&, 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.