The Lady of Shalott described a young woman who is locked away in a tower and must weave a blanket every day with the fear that if she doesn’t something horrible will happen. She may not know what will happen but the fear of the unknown keeps “her weaving, either night or day” (Tennyson). She also has no access to the outside world and only has “a mirror clear Reflecting tower’d Camelot” (Tennyson). This poem has very straight forward language which enables the reader an easy read, but the complex aspect of the theme is where readers are allowed to form their own line of thinking. The reason The Lady of Shalott is so popular is because everyone can find a way to relate to the young lady who has found herself trapped in the tower.
I believe this poem is the perfect read for college students who are trying to figure out what their path is going to be for their future. There is so much unknown about the future regarding career choice and finding a partner. The young woman in the poem looks out this mirror to the real world and sees “two young lovers lately wed” and “knights come riding two and two” (Tennyson). She is watching the lives of others go by while she sits and does the same task of weaving each day. Feeling like you are living the same day everyday while watching other people live their lives is a very common notion. Changing you pattern is a scary thing and in the case of the poem looking into the real world and experience it for herself not just through the mirror resulted in her death. This idea of taking a chance would result in the worst possible outcome reminds me of overthinking. The beauty and complexity of the human mind goes far beyond this poem but it brings up many challenges faced every day and giving it a fairytale twist.