Man as a "dying christ" in D.Thomas's "Before I Knocked"

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Although an early poem, "Before I Knocked" encompasses D. Thomas's major themes and techniques. By essays focuses on the equality man - Jesus Christ - God as it appears clearly expressed in this poem. Striking due to its directness, the poem enjoys an extremely well balanced structure which revels man's evolution from the moment of conception to the moment of birth/death.
Man's conception and evolution is presented in relationship with mythological elements suggesting the birth of Jesus Christ. While, on the one hand, his perception of human condition raises the man to the "privilege" position of "God's son", on the other hand it may be interpreted as desecration. In the first stanza this association is spatially suggested by "the water shaped the Jordan near my home". By using a simile meant to enhance the speaker's human/mortal status, D. Thomas achieved a spatial and temporal simultaneity. Since the speaker has no identity, any space and any time can he seen as "repetitions" of the moment and place of Jesus Christ's birth, while this event reduced to ordinary. Thus, the poet may imply the idea that holiness is neither temporal nor spatial, but it is an inherent feature of very human being: the "shapeless" I was similar to the Jordan's water, not only or not necessarily in the lack of shape, but also in holiness. At the same time, the same stanza may imply a comparison between the microcosm (here the primordial elements, earth and water, which facilitated the appearance of life) and microcosm, the human body made of flesh and water "with liquid hands topped on the womb". 
Each stanza marks anew phase in the evolution of the foetus. Therefor, in the second stanza, the embryo was able to hear more powerful noises. Of course, D. Thomas's aim was not that of revealing the reader the stages of foetal evolution, but that of relating man to God, which he realized in this stanza by calling Him "father": "I...felt thud...The leaden stars, the rainy hammer // Swung by my father from his dome". There is nothing romantic or evanescent in this reference to stars and rain, the poet describes them as very concrete, almost palpable by using the word "leaden" and "hammer". As regards the foetal evolution, the reader can notice that the author mentions "a molten form", therefor more dense, harder that in the previous phase, yet not very sensitive as it was "deaf to spring and summer", the change of the seasons.


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