Menu
Account

Poetry - My Heart is Like a Withered Nut

Caroline Norton was a nineteenth-century poet, writer and political activist. Although extremely talented and well-connected, she led a life marked by disappointment, sorrow and scandal. These experiences fed into much of her writing, such as this poem, 'My Heart is Like a Withered Nut'.

Read the poem and then test your ability to analyse previously unseen poetry by trying the quiz.

Did you know...

You can play every teacher-written quiz on our site for just £9.95 per month. Click the button to sign up or read more.

Sign up here

My Heart is Like a Withered Nut

 

My heart is like a withered nut,
Rattling within its hollow shell;
You cannot ope my breast, and put
Any thing fresh with it to dwell.
The hopes and dreams that filled it when
Life's spring of glory met my view,
Are gone! and ne'er with joy or pain
That shrunken heart shall swell anew.

My heart is like a withered nut;
Once it was soft to every touch,
But now 'tis stern and closely shut;--
I would not have to plead with such.
Each light-toned voice once cleared my brow,
Each gentle breeze once shook the tree
Where hung the sun-lit fruit, which now
Lies cold, and stiff, and sad, like me!

My heart is like a withered nut--
It once was comely to the view;
But since misfortune's blast hath cut,
It hath a dark and mournful hue.
The freshness of its verdant youth
Nought to that fruit can now restore;
And my poor heart, I feel in truth,
Nor sun, nor smile shall light it more!


Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton 

  1. Which of the following words does NOT describe the mood of this poem?
  2. Although the first line of each stanza is a simile, the entire poem is an example of...
    The poem is an example of an extended metaphor - although the poet's heart is like a withered nut, the rest of the poem talks of the heart as though it is a withered nut ('it was soft to every touch', 'now lies cold, and stiff, and sad')
  3. What is the narrator in this poem mourning?
    The narrator does not elaborate on 'misfortune's blast' - we, as readers, do not know for certain what that misfortune was, but she is very clear that it has destroyed her emotional interaction with others along with all her hopes and dreams
  4. 'Once it was soft to every touch' - what is meant by this line?
  5. Which line supports the point made in the answer to question 4?
  6. 'The hopes and dreams that filled it when / Life's spring of glory met my view, / Are gone!' What effect do enjambment and caesura achieve in these lines?
  7. 'Where hung the sun-lit fruit, which now / Lies cold, and stiff, and sad, like me!' - What does the poet imply with the words 'cold' and 'stiff'?
    Here, the poet expands the meaning of the metaphor from her heart to herself - she is the withered nut
  8. In the first stanza, what language choice provides a contrast to 'withered'?
    These are not the only words which provide a contrast - the entire first stanza contrast the poet's fresh heart of youth with the shrivelled and withered heart life has given her
  9. 'You cannot ope my breast...' - this line expresses the narrator's resignation to her state. Which other line reinforces this acceptance of the way life will be for her in future?
    The narrator appears to have given up - she is resigned to her fate
  10. The movement of the poem is between past and present - what effect do the last two lines have?
    This effect is achieved by the use of the future tense in the final line

© 2014 Education Quizzes

TJS - Web Design Lincolnshire

Welcome to Education Quizzes
Login to your account