I so liked Spring by Charlotte Mew is a two-stanza work that uses the immature stance of the narrator’s romantic interest to indicate how altering a relationship can be if a person unwisely alters too much of themselves to be a part of it. Specifically, this narrator begins to “like” things only because they connect to her companion, though she puts on a façade of moving past the relationship that is shown as false due to her lingering connections to these companion-related items. It seems, overall, that she has not returned to her true being, which can be a warning to the reader in regard to entering into a relationship that is similar. Parts of a person can be lost, and those elements that are handed over might never be retrieved as a consequence to such an immature relationship.
I so liked Spring Analysis
I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here; –
The thrushes too –
Because it was these you so liked to hear –
I so liked you.
One of the first clues that some measure of this poem’s ideas will be exaggerated by the author is the notion that “Spring” is capitalized when grammatically, seasons do not typically require capitalization. This concept can be thought of in two ways. One would be that the relationship that took place when the discussed person was “here” “last year” was so significant to the narrator that even the season in which it occurred is worthy of capitalization, as if the time was profound and meaningful. The other option is that this capitalization is a clue that some element of this narration is forced. If such is the case, whatever the final declaration of the poem is, the reader could infer that some kind of falsehood is taking place.
The narration of the poem, in truth, does not overly favor either explanation above the other, but leaves room for both to be treated as simultaneous options. This could be accomplished by assuming that this “Spring” relationship was, in fact, remarkably significant to the narrator, and that significance makes it such a lingering concept in her mindset that she must pretend as though she is past the relationship to keep up appearances. This would mean that “Spring” represents both the meaningful feelings regarding the relationship and a need to act as though she was beyond the relationship though the feelings lingered.
The amount of obsession this narrator has with the “you” who is being referenced is clear in the number of times the word “like” is used to describe the situation. She “liked Spring,” and this “like” was only named as present “[b]ecasuse [he was] here.” She, likewise, only “liked” “thrushes” “[b]ecause it was these [he] so liked to hear.” This hints that her obsession with the man in question was so strong that she was willing to alter the things she “liked” to match the things that gave him happiness. This stanza is wrapped up with the notion that she “so liked” this “you” she is referring to.
This shows an immaturity of thought that is represented in the childish verb, “liked.” A more adult frame of mind might have said she “loved” the season and the person, but she chooses a less solid idea to indicate her emotions. As odd as this might seem, it is quite fitting, given the childish thoughts that are related to this romance—that she is seemingly altering her “like[s]” to match what her romantic interest is fond of. An adult in a relationship might, instead, find a love interest who pairs well naturally—someone for whom there is no need to drastically change multiple elements of their personality. Given that the narration stands on this idea that she “like[s]” this person and only “like[s]” other things based on him, there is arguably no maturity happening within her affection.
While this lack of maturity might seem to indicate that the theory of “Spring” being capitalized to show significance of this time period is invalid, it does invalidate it at all. Even if this relationship was immature, the narrator clearly held it closely, meaning it could still be seen as significant though it was treated and approached in a childish way.
This year’s a different thing, –
I’ll not think of you.
But I’ll like the Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.
This stanza indicates that the relationship that happened “last year” has come to an end, and the narrator is putting on the pretense of acting as though she is beyond it. Specifically, she declares that she will “not think of” this fellow, which indicates that she is “think[ing]” about the relationship, but planning to stop. This reveals a desire for future strength and independence that she has not yet accomplished, but the final two lines of the poem taint that concept by declaring that she will “like the Spring because it is simply Spring [a]s the thrushes do.” While the statement could be interpreted that she is planning to start enjoying life for other reasons beyond this “you,” she is naming only things that mattered to her former companion as what she will to cling to.
This means that while she is insisting that she will “not think of” him “[t]his year,” deep down, memories of him linger within her as she clings to the season in which she had him and the “thrushes” that he “so liked.” By this, the reader can clearly see the falsehood that was earlier addressed since the narrator has not fully left behind this romantic interest, and she is using too-bold words—mirrored in the “Spring” capitalization—to put on a too-large show that the reader can still see through. Though she wants to pretend she is beyond this, she seemingly is not, tainting her position on the matter with pretension.
Essentially, this is a poem that shows an immature approach to romance that consumes this narrator enough for her to unwisely alter her being, and enough for her to still cling to her past fellow’s interests as she plans to move on. This situation can be seen as evidence that if a person unwisely alters themselves to be in a relationship with another, the changes can forever impact their being since this narrator arguably cannot shake herself from the new “like[s]” to return to who she was. If such is a case, this poem can be seen as a warning to the reader to approach romance in a mature fashion so that the right essence of who a person is does not get lost in a poor connection with another person.
Overall, a presumed need for maturity seems to shine from this poem, as well as an apparent notion of being true to oneself. These seem to be elements that the poet wishes to impart to the reader, making them the primary themes of the work.
About Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew, born in 1869, was an English writer who penned a number of poems and short stories. Her family had its share of misfortune in that three of her six siblings died early, and two of the remaining ones were committed to mental institutions. Mew herself committed suicide in 1928 after her final sibling passed away following a cancer diagnosis.