Student-Generated Questions on Thomas Hardy's "Where the Picnic Was"

Philip V. Allingham, Contributing Editor, Victorian Web; Faculty of Education, Lakehead University (Canada)

1. What is the nature of the relationship between the dead girl and the persona?

2. What do you think the author chose the title "Where the Picnic Was"?

3. Who is she in the line "one has shut her eyes for ever more"?

4. What is the relationship between the picnic and death in the poem?

5. Who do you think the voice is in the poem? What clues are we given?

6. What is the significance or meaning of the ending of the poem?

7. What is the relationship between the passing of the seasons and dying in the poem?

8. Why does Hardy beautify death in this elegy?

9. What has happened to the people who were at the picnic? Why did they leave for the more urban areas? What did the "one" die of?

10. Why does the persona speak critically of urban life?

11. For what is the picnic a metaphor?

12. Create a story around the poem. Why were the group there? Were they young or old? What prompted the move to the city? Why did one remain behind?

13. Why has the narrator gone back to this place?

14. What poetic forms are used by the voice of the poem?

15. Why does the middle of the poem get gloomy?

16. Where was the picnic held?

17. What happened to the "one [who] has shut her eyes forever more"?

18. Who are the four people who gathered at the picnic site a year earlier?

19. Explain the surprise of the last line.

20. Why does the rhyming pattern change?

21. How does the picnic spot in winter reflect the narrator's feelings?

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Last modified 8 October 2001