1850 has been regarded as the important year in English literature since Tennyson’s In Memoriam was published. After the death of Arthur Hallam who was Tennyson’s best friend and going to marry his sister, he had been writing In Memoriam for eighteen years to lament Hallam. This memoriam work was highly praised that it is said to become the most favourite book of Queen Victoria after the Bible and “Memoriam Stanza” came to be commonly used. So, I dare say, it had a strong influence on the Victorian literature at that time.
The film Cast Away is quite similar to this verse but I’m not sure of their connection. At any rate the reality in Enoch Arden is recognised anti-Victorian as I’ll show.
Enoch, Annie and Philip are old friends and love-triangle. Annie chooses Enoch to marry, and later he comes to be involved in shipwreck. He survives from it and lives on at the desert island for about ten years before coming back. But Annie has married Philip to restore her warm family life just before Enoch comes back. When Enoch finds that, he decides to leave without telling them...
The scene in which Enoch peeps into the house to find Anny and Philip look happy there is absolutely poignant. Here, although Enoch sees “domestic welfare”, the Victorian ideal of families, we feel it is entirely cruel, considering his ten years. While, as a laurel poet, Tennyson had to devote to the Queen Victoria his poems which affirm the current, he might never forget to turn to those who couldn’t be given such welfare.
In fact the moment when Enoch finds a ship in the far distance and shivers filled with hope is not described because of the final passages of the verse. I believe that these passages impress and touch us profoundly. I do want many to read it if possible.