The narrator talks about her lover and how much she thinks of him. She’s worried her thoughts will obscure the reality of what he’s actually like. However, she reassures her thoughts do not compare to the reality of him. She wants him to have a strong presence and be with her.

Ideas and Themes:

  • Fulfillment
  • Nature
  • Longing
  • Distance

Structure:

  • The transition from problem to solution reflects the difference between the narrator thinking and being with her lover. The first line is “I think of thee!” The last line is “too near”. First, she imagines being with him but in the end, she doesn’t because she is “Too near” him.

Form:

  • Written in sonnet form emphasizes love. Has an octave (8 lines) followed by a sestet (6 lines). The octave is the problem and sestet a solution. However, the solution comes in the middle of the octave showing her impatience

Language:

  • “I think of thee” Narrator addresses the lover directly making it more personal
  • “My thoughts do twine and bud”- Natural imagery shows her thoughts focus on him as vines do on a tree. Her love is ever-growing and developing as well as her thoughts
  • “Wild vines about a tree”- Metaphor shows that narrator is “wild vines” and lover is the “tree”. The internal rhyme of “thee” and “tree”.
  • “Put out broad leaves”- Suggests the love is extensive.
  • “Except the straggling green”- Suggests vines are inferior to the tree as her thoughts are inferior to the actual man himself she is describing
  • “Renew thy Presence as a strong tree should rustle”- Sibilant sounds reflect trees rustling and thoughts changing. “Renew” and “rustle” are imperatives and alliteration show and emphasize how much she wants him to take action.
  • “Set thy trunk all bare” Possible erotic reference
  • “Insphere Thee…Hear Thee….Too near thee”. Last 6 lines rhyme with himself showing an obsession
  • “I do not think of thee-I am too near thee”. A reversal of the first line highlights the difference between thinking and being with him. She doesn’t have to think about him when she’s with him – he’s better than anything she’s capable of imagining.
Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Sonnet 29- ‘I think of thee!’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Analysis," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/sonnet-29-i-think-of-thee-by-elizabeth-barrett-browning-analysis/.

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