Main Summary of Up-Hill
The poem presents a dialogue where questions and answers are exchanged, drawing a comparison between life and a journey. This journey is depicted as a continuous ascent, yet it concludes with an inn, a place of rest, that is essential and inclusive. Throughout the journey, the narrator inquires about the path ahead, posing a total of eight questions. One of these queries is whether all the roads are uphill.
During the journey, the narrator consults their guide with a series of eight questions regarding the path ahead. Firstly, they inquire about the nature of the roads, whether they are all uphill, and if the journey will consume the entire day. The guide affirms both queries. Subsequently, the narrator asks about the availability of a resting place for the night and expresses concern about the darkness concealing the location. Reassuringly, the guide confirms the existence of an inn and assures that it will be easily noticeable. The fifth question from the narrator pertains to the presence of other travelers on the road. Upon reaching the inn, the narrator inquires whether it would be more appropriate to knock or call out upon arrival. In response, the guide assures that someone will be there to open the door. Finally, the narrator seeks confirmation regarding the availability of a bed. In reply, the guide guarantees that there are ample beds for everyone.
Devotional writing often employs a question-and-answer format to engage readers in introspection. In this poem, the guide refers to the narrator as “my friend,” a term reminiscent of Christ addressing his disciples. The poem consists of four stanzas, each with four lines, following an ABAB rhyme scheme.
The chosen rhyme scheme separates the traveler from the guide, while the poem’s simplicity helps alleviate the weight of the profound subject matter. The meter begins with a trochee and transitions into alternating iambic pentameter and trimeter, maintaining a consistent rhythm akin to the narrator’s steady uphill climb.
The journey serves as the primary symbol in the poem, inviting various interpretations. The first viewpoint suggests that the poem symbolizes the passage from birth to death. The darkening sky foreshadows life’s end, and the inn represents the final place of rest. Given Rossetti’s religious background, this resting place may signify Heaven. Knocking on the door symbolizes the Christian act of confessing sins and seeking forgiveness before gaining admission to Heaven. Rossetti borrows a quote from the Gospel of Matthew to describe this moment, presenting death as a relief after life’s arduous journey.
Another interpretation suggests that the road represents the journey of life itself. The weary traveler, burdened by past experiences, wonders if life becomes easier with age. However, the guide informs her that the remaining road remains uphill and challenging. This interpretation doesn’t provide a definitive explanation for the symbolism of the inn. It is plausible that the inn represents death, which also offers respite at the journey’s end.
A third, less likely interpretation to consider is that the journey represents Christian purgatory. In this perspective, the inn would still symbolize Heaven, as in the initial interpretation.
“Uphill” exemplifies Rossetti’s devotional literature, which explores doubts alongside eternal assurance. The road assumes multiple meanings, each revealing a facet of Rossetti’s contemplation on life and its hardships.
About the Poem Up-Hill and Poet
Poems that portray struggles tend to possess universal appeal, as everyone experiences some form of struggle in their lives. This is a concept that doesn’t necessarily require a specific art form to convey, as it resonates with the average person. Christina Rossetti, who faced her own share of hardships, reflects on this notion in her poem “Uphill.” The poem presents a dialogue that allows readers to easily identify with either side of the conversation, relating to it in their own personal way. The title of Rossetti’s work, likely influenced by the common expression “an uphill battle,” aligns well with the themes explored in the poem. Consequently, both the expression and the poem maintain their relevance in contemporary times.
“Uphill” adheres to a conventional poetic style, comprising four quatrains, with each quatrain consisting of four lines. Notably, the poem adopts the perspective of two distinct narrators, one posing questions and the other providing answers. The separation between these narrators is facilitated by the simple rhyme scheme employed in the poem.
The rhyme scheme follows an ABAB pattern, with the first and third lines of each quatrain (referred to as “A” lines) rhyming with each other, while the second and fourth lines (referred to as “B” lines) rhyme with each other. Additionally, the lines alternate between asking questions and offering answers. This structure enables Rossetti to create a poetic conversation between two individuals without introducing complexity to the composition. This approach can be challenging to execute effectively. Despite variations in syllable count within each quatrain, the poem remains accessible and flows smoothly due to its rhyme scheme and narrative pattern.
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
In the opening stanza, the poet appears to derive the title of the poem from the commonly used metaphor of an “uphill battle.” The first speaker poses inquiries about the nature of “the road,” wondering if it remains uphill throughout its entire course and if the journey will span the entire day.
The inclusion of the phrase “whole long day” is notable, as it deviates from the syllabic pattern of the previous line. This addition serves to convey the weariness that comes with speaking and asking questions. It becomes evident that the uphill journey has been ongoing for a considerable time, and the speaker is eager for its culmination.
Another possible interpretation of the phrase “long day” is that it signifies a full twenty-four-hour period. This interpretation aligns with the response received, indicating that the journey will continue beyond sunset. The second speaker’s lines are notably shorter than those of the first speaker, displaying conciseness. Their main distinguishing characteristic is the use of the term “friend” to refer to the other speaker.
But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.
The question-and-answer exchange continues in the second stanza, where a distinct atmosphere begins to emerge. It becomes evident that the two characters depicted hold contrasting perspectives regarding the uphill journey. The first speaker displays uncertainty and a lack of confidence. They inquire about the availability of lodging for the night, given the anticipated duration of their journey.
Upon learning that such a place exists, they immediately express concern about the possibility of overlooking it. In stark contrast, the second speaker exudes unwavering assurance not only regarding the presence of an inn to provide shelter from the darkness but also in their certainty that it will be found before darkness obscures their view. As a reader, the experience of oscillating between fear and confidence within each line of the poem is intriguing. Rossetti deliberately portrays a single journey through two opposing viewpoints, yet the narrative remains easy to follow and comprehend.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.
In the third stanza, the inquisitive speaker raises doubts about the inn they are destined to find and questions whether they will be accepted there. This line of thinking appears peculiar, as an inn is typically intended to provide shelter for anyone, particularly travelers.
Nonetheless, the speaker expresses concern about their potential unwelcome reception, despite their companion’s assurance that they will be greeted by fellow wayfarers. The first speaker yearns to encounter companions who share their journey’s challenges, and they are reassured that such companions will indeed be present. The persistent anxieties of the initial speaker and the unwavering confidence of the second speaker remain the central theme of the poem, although the specific identities of both individuals remain undisclosed.
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.
The scenario of two friends walking uphill for an entire day is unlikely to occur in a literal sense. The expression “uphill battle,” which likely inspired the poem “Uphill,” generally refers to challenging situations that require more effort to overcome compared to easier tasks like walking on a level path.
Figuratively, the speaker in the poem poses questions as they attempt to overcome an obstacle, symbolized by the uphill journey. The second speaker can be interpreted as a friend offering encouragement or as another aspect of the speaker’s own personality, such as their optimism or determination to persevere.
The notion of an inn along the way, where one finds comfort proportional to the effort exerted (“Of labour, you shall find the sum”), and the presence of fellow travellers climbing the same hill, metaphorically represent the importance of support from friends and family when facing challenges. Crossing any obstacle without some form of assistance is undeniably difficult.
After all, if overcoming obstacles were easy, they wouldn’t truly be obstacles. Thus, the speaker draws on their own sense of self and envisions reaching a place of shelter by the end of the day. This place could be returning home to family or a gathering spot like a bar, where they can meet with friends and temporarily forget the hardships of the day.
The beauty of “Uphill” lies in its openness to various interpretations within a metaphorical context. At its core, the poem revolves around two voices—one struggling and seeking rest, and another offering encouragement and reassurance. Almost everyone can relate to this dynamic in some way, as the poem intentionally treads the fine line between vagueness and relatability.
The specific nature of the task the speakers undertake to ascend the hill remains unspecified, as it is inconsequential. What truly matters is the presence of the second voice that supports, assures, and aids in finding rest. This companion can be a friend, a family member, or an internal voice, varying for each reader. Nonetheless, the essential aspect is that there is someone offering support.
Some Important Question Answers Related to the Poem
What is the main theme of the poem Uphill by Christina Rossetti?
As in many of Christina Rossetti’s poems, a prominent theme of “Up-Hill” is the idea of life and death, with a particular focus on the worry about what happens at the end of life. Some have suggested Rossetti’s Anabaptist background contributed to her fascination with life after death.
Does the road wind uphill all the way meaning?
Meaning: This poem is paralleled with life. The poet writes “Does the road wind uphill all the way?…… Yes, to the very end” (lines 1-2). The poet is saying that life is always hard and ever-changing. Again using night for death the poet asks is there a heaven and the poet answers that there is a heaven.
What kind of poem is uphill?
Up-hill Analysis. Uphill is written in a common style for poetry; it consists of four verses with four lines each. Notably, Uphill is written from the perspective of two distinct narrators, one who asks questions, and one who provides answers.
Does the road wind uphill all the way yes to the very end?
Does the road wind uphill all the way? Yes, to the very end. Will the day’s journey take a whole long day? From morn to night, my friend.
Who are the two speakers in the poem Uphill?
Expert Answers Hover for more information. The two speakers in the poem are a traveller asking for directions along their road to come and some local person who knows the way and is willing to share it.
How long does the uphill journey take?
The answer to the question of how long the journey will take depends on the interpretation of the poem. When the question is asked, the response is that the journey will take “from morn till night.” Taken literally, this means that the journey along the uphill road will take an entire day.
What does the poem Uphill compare life to?
The poem is an exchange of questions and answers that compares life to a journey. The journey is uphill all the way, but at the end is an inn, a resting place, that cannot be missed and which has room for everyone.
How is the journey that happens during the journey in the poem uphill?
Christina Rossetti’s poem “UpHill” consists of four stanzas, each containing four lines, in which a traveller poses questions about a journey and is answered by an unknown voice. The poem, then, is more about death than the journey to get there. The journey is hard, long, and uphill all the way.
Exercise of Class 9 English if Uphill
A. Match the words in column ‘A’ with their meanings in column ‘B’.
|Column ‘A’||Column ‘B’|
|a. wind||i. person who usually travels on foot|
|b. morn||ii. a small hotel, usually in the country|
|c. inn||iii. to have many bends and twists|
|d. wayfarer||iv. look for|
|e. seek||v. morning|
B. Complete the summary of the poem with the suitable word/ phrases given below.
the road ahead up-hill someone a place a journey in the affirmative on the way everyone fellow travellers an inn
The speaker is making ……………. with her guide. She asks the guide eight different questions about …………. The first question is if the road is all ……………. and if the journey will take all day. The guide replies …………….. Next, she asks if there is ……………. to rest for the night. The guide informs the speaker that there is ……………. which she won’t miss. The speaker’s fifth question is, whether she will meet the other travellers …………….. At the inn, the speaker asks if she should knock or call the …………….. The guide replies that……………. will open the door. Lastly, the speaker asks if there will be a bed for her. The guide tells her that there are beds for…………….
The speaker is making a journey with her guide. She asks the guide eight different questions about the road ahead. The first question is if the road is all uphill and if the journey will take all day. The guide replies in the affirmative. Next, she asks if there is a place to rest for the night. The guide informs the speaker that there is an inn that she won’t miss. The speaker’s fifth question is, whether she will meet the other travellers on the way. At the inn, the speaker asks if she should knock or call her fellow travellers. The guide replies that someone will open the door. Lastly, the speaker asks if there will be a bed for her. The guide tells her that there are beds for everyone.
C. Answer the following Questions
a. How far is the road uphill, according to the guide?
Answer: According to the guide, the road is so far uphill. It takes morning to night to complete the journey.
b. What does the speaker doubt about the place to rest?
Answer: The speaker doubts whether there is a resting place or not when they reach their destination during the night.
c. Who has travelled the road before?
Answer: The other wayfarers have travelled the road before.
d. What is the speaker’s seventh question?
Answer: The speaker’s seventh question is whether she will find ease and comfort after her difficult journey of being weary and weaker.
e. Who do you think opens the door?
Answer: I think other wayfarers who have gone there before opening the door.
D. Write a short description of an interesting road that you have recently travelled along.
Answer: The road that I have recently travelled along is the road of Gowari Botanical Garden. This road is situated in Lalitpur district and Godawari municipality. This road has various bends uphill. It takes 1 hour to reach the main spot from the ring road of Kathmandu Valley. During my journey, I was quite excited. I enjoy the scenic beauty around Lalitpur and the road. The pollution and dust were disgusting. But the greenery around the Godawari was quite attractive.
Extra Bit of Question Answer
Who composed this poem?
Answer: Christina Rossetti composed this poem.
Who is asking questions to whom?
Answer: The speaker/traveller is asking questions to the guide.
What are they talking about?
Answer: They are talking about their journey.
Where are they travelling to?
Answer: They are travelling to a long journey uphill.
What is the lady asking the man?
Answer: The lady is asking the man various questions regarding a long journey.
What does the speaker ask her guide in the first stanza?
Answer: In the first stanza, the speaker asks her guide whether the road is difficult and up-hill all the way and if the journey would take all day long.
How long will the day’s journey take?
Answer: The day’s journey will take the whole day from morning till night.
Where is the resting place located?
Answer: The resting place is located at the end of the journey.
Why is the speaker worried in the second stanza?
Answer: The speaker is worried in the second stanza because she thinks that the darkness might hide the inn from her view/face.
Who are other wayfarers?
Answer: Wayfarers are those travellers who have gone on the same journey before.
Why does the speaker desire for a resting place?
Answer: The speaker desires a resting place because she needs her safety at the end of her journey.
Who will open the door in that inn?
Answer: The other wayfarers who have gone before on this particular journey will open the door in that inn.
Will the speaker have to wait at the door? Why / Why not?
Answer: No, the speaker won’t have to wait at the door because the other wayfarers will immediately open the door and let her in.
Will there be beds for all?
Answer: Yes, there will be beds for all.
What is the main theme of the poem?
Answer: The main theme of the poem is the hardships of human life till the end.