New Year Resolutions – Summary

In this poem, the poetess, Elizabeth Sewell, has made an extraordinary resolution to make herself a better woman by facing and living with reality in the start of the New Year. New Year is generally understood as starting of a new chapter of one’s life. People make resolution by taking stock of their lives and resolving to be better ones. Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, is reported to have said that unexamined life is not worthy of living and it is almost a tradition with the sensible and reasonable people to take stock of their life and to resolve to be better people, at the start of the new year.

So, the poetess has decided to live with reality in the New Year. Reality is not always comfortable but pinching and disturbing. The use of the image “bony arms” points to this fact. But the poetess is resolute and will draw comfort fulfilling her resolution. The phrase ‘draining of long draughts’ is linked with drinking wine but the poetess intends to drink calmness and thinks it necessary for cleansing herself. It is quite natural and true that in loneliness and quiet one can examine one’s life honestly. It is a self-criticism. Life examined critically purifies one for better future life.

Critical Explanation:
It is a short and interesting poem written by Elizabeth Sewell. The arrival of New Year is usually celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm. It is a tradition to make some promises in the light of which one wants to spend one’s New Year. Usually people pledge to become better human beings in the New Year.
The poetess makes an extraordinary resolution at the beginning of the New Year. She says that in order to purify her soul, she will remain quiet. She will drink long sips of quietness. It is a beautiful simile as if quietness is a medicine that can make her clean physically and spiritually from impurities. Quietness seems to purify her because when a person is quiet and is not taking active part in the problems of the world, he gets time to have an insight into his own soul. He can then see his own impurities and drawbacks and can get rid of them. The poetess also wants to do this. She will face the reality. She will not have any high opinion about herself in future. She will not lead a conceited life and have no superiority complex about herself. From now on, she will speak the truth to herself. She will not misjudge her own personality. In order to fulfill this goal. She will remind herself about her own reality twice during a day. Her assessment about herself will be true and real. During the night also, she will not forget the reality. Nodoubt, it is a time when one forgets bitter realities of this world and is lost in the imaginary world of dreams. But she pledges that she will not lose her contact with reality though it is hard like the bony arms yet she will prefer it because she has made her ple
dge and only the fulfillment of her 
promise will make her happy.  
It is very hard thing to face the reality and specially the reality about our own self. Our ego and our conceited self stop us from seeing our weakness. Without facing these realities, we are unable to improve ourselves. So the resolution to see the reality is the first step towards reformation.

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