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What Is the Theme of Friendship: Critical Essay

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Since Hanna Moved Away

The theme of friendship is used in many literary mediums including poems. This essay will explore the theme of friendship through Judith Voirst’s poem ‘Since Hanna moved away.’ Voirst, an American writer, is perhaps best known for writing children’s literature. Through the experience of loss, the poet shows the reader the true value of friendship. The poet explores the theme of friendship through the clever use of poetic devices and figurative language.

The loss of a friendship can be devastating especially when a friendship is similar to the type of feeling felt by family. When a friend moves away the friendship alters even if you if you can keep in touch. Judith Voirst explores this loss in her poem ‘Since Hanna moved away,’ through repetition of the title phrase. At the end of every stanza, the title of the poem is repeated. The phrase ‘since Hanna moved away’ emphasizes clearly the loss felt by Voirst through repetition of the title page. The relationship between the author and Hanna is felt by the reader to be one that was strong and meaningful and therefore harder to live without. This was expressed by the line “it sure feels like that” in the opening stanza. Friendship is considered one of life’s joys and to lose such a close friendship can be a life-altering tragedy, at least for a short time Voirst explores this feeling of loss cleverly with her use of repetition.

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True friendship is important in providing a person with a sense of wholeness and peace. Hanna was obviously a major part of the poet’s life and she is representative of all the joy and fun that life has to offer. Without Hanna, Voirst feels incomplete and the experiences are joyless and dreadful. The poet uses similes to express the displeasure and lack of joy felt since her friend Hanna moved away. The line “chocolate ice cream tastes like prunes” in the second stanza and the lines “flowers smell like halibut and “velvet feels like hay” in the third stanza are all clever comparisons of how life for the author has changed. The author draws comparisons with full sensory experiences of touch, taste, and smell, and how she has been impacted by her loss. Chocolate is not sweet and comforting, flowers not pleasant nor velvet soft. The author's experiences of simple, everyday pleasures are now incomplete and joyless.

Judith Voirst’s poem explores the theme of friendship, including both the loss and value of friendship. This is achieved through effective use of poetic devices and figurative language which portrays the true pain she experienced after she lost her friend Hanna. The themes are important concepts to be explored and the way in which they are explored, appeals to a variety of the senses including touch, taste, and smell. This is important because of how we, as readers interpret them. Through an experience of loss, the poet shows the reader the true value of friendship.

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What Is the Theme of Friendship: Critical Essay. (2023, August 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from
“What Is the Theme of Friendship: Critical Essay.” Edubirdie, 17 Aug. 2023,
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What Is the Theme of Friendship: Critical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Aug 17 [cited 2023 Nov 30]. Available from:
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