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Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed? Oh keep the dog far hence, that's friend to men, Or with his nails he'll dig it up again! You hypocrite lecteur!
What are the roots that clutch panel excerpt - Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts
All rights reserved. Lines April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. An unknown speaker claims that "April is the cruellest month," even though we might usually think of spring as a time of love 1. But if you're lonely, seeing flowers blooming and people kissing might make you even more depressed about your "Memory and desire" 3. The spring rain might normally bring new life, but for you it only stirs "Dull roots" 4. Also, you might want to note how Eliot really works the poetic technique of enjambment to carry each phrase over the line breaks with extra participles or -ing words i.
These lines are also written in almost-perfect iambic meter , which is really supposed to give you a sense of stability in a poem. But Eliot's enjambment keeps making it unstable by making every thought seem unfinished. So right off the bat, he suggests that traditional forms of art might not bring the sense of closure and certainty they once did. Lines Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. These lines show that when it comes to feeling bad, it's better to be forgetful and almost numb in your emotions, surviving on the little bits of joy in your life as if they were "dried tubers" from you potato cellar 7.
Uplifting, yes? Also, the iambs of the first three lines have started to break down, although you're still getting those enjambed participle -ing words at the end of each line. Eliot is thematically showing you here that an unfinished thought has a way of infecting our sense of certainty and nibbling away at it like a termite.
what are the roots that clutch
Lines Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade , And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten , And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. These lines talk about how "summer surprised us," meaning that the poem's speaker has a crowd they hung out with in the past, but we're not clear who "us" is. At this point, you suddenly realize that you're probably dealing with a dramatic monologue , meaning that the poem is being spoken by a specific character.
This isn't Eliot, or some third person narrator yakking away. Think of the speaker as a character here. The speaker then talks about how the group walked past a bunch of fancy columns and ended up in a city park in Munich known as the Hofgarten They drank coffee and talked for an hour. Um, thanks for the info? What this line tells us is that the speaker was having a conversation about who counts as a "true" German, and suggests that a true German can come from the country of Lithuania, which has Germanic historical roots. This poem isn't so hard, right? Right… But rest assured that even if you can't read German, a perfect translation is less important than the fact that we readers are eavesdropping on a conversation.
We're getting snippets of life in Europe in the early 20th century, and that notion's more important than what's actually being said in those snippets. Stay tuned for more. Lines And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke 's, My cousin's, he took me out on a sled, And I was frightened.
These lines continue on with the speaker's memories of childhood. And hey—they're not so bad. You find out that the speaker is the cousin of an archduke, which means that he or she probably came from a pretty ritzy background. And they went on swanky vacays to boot. The archduke took the speaker out on a sled and told her not to be frightened.
You find out at this point that the speaker's name is Marie. It turns out Eliot's actually alluding to a real, historical figure named Marie Louise Elizabeth Mendel, a Bavarian woman who was born into a family with royal roots, and became Countess Larisch when she was nineteen. It's not entirely clear why Eliot inserts Marie into the beginning of his poem, but there are a couple running theories. First, there was a widespread scandal in Eliot would have been less than a year old when the archduke was found dead with his mistress, leaving a gaping hole in the Austrian royal line of succession.
This story could set off the motif of dead royalty that Eliot uses in this poem to symbolize the collapse of traditional forms of government and the "rule of the mob" in the 20th century.
More on that coming soon. Also, the countess Marie also barely avoided being killed when a socialist workers' movement swept across Bavaria and encouraged the killing and imprisoning of anyone of Marie's high class. Once again, we've got notes of the decline of traditional, high culture in a modern sea of stupid, violent, and worst of all, average people cue Eliot's sneer. Either way, legend has it that Eliot and Marie once met, so maybe he's just using their brief encounter as poetic fodder, and nothing more. Shmoop's guess is as good as yours.
The Roots That Clutch .
These lines close with Marie talking about how awesome and free you feel in the mountains, to which we say obvi. She ends on a weird note, though, telling you that she likes to read during the night and travels south in the winter, which makes her sound like a bookwormy goose. This could mean that now that she's old, she gets her enjoyment from books and doesn't go to the snowy mountains anymore, choosing instead to "go south in winter" 18 like an old fogey headed to Fort Lauderdale.
Only There is shadow under this red rock, Come in under the shadow of this red rock , It's not Marie who's talking anymore, but someone else. These lines throw you three verses from the Bible, and they basically talk about how your soul is like soil without water, which is, yes, as awful as it sounds. The first allusion is in lines It's based on Ezekiel , and it asks you what could possibly grow from your spirit, which is like "stony rubbish" Son of man, by the way, is a phrase commonly used in the Bible.
Lines allude to Ecclesiastes , and they say that you probably don't know the answer to this last question, because all you really know about life is "a heap of broken images" 22 , meaning that you live your life on a superficial level and don't bother to draw your thoughts together into any meaningful ideas.
You meaning whomever the speaker is speaking to live in a world that is as hard on you as a beating sun, but your trees meaning your ideas and your spirit are dead, and they can't comfort you or give you shade. You're dying from spiritual thirst, and there is "no sound of water" All you're going to get is a half-hearted comfort, like shadow under a "red rock" We're starting to get the feeling that Eliot's a bit of a negative Nelly.
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
But we guess we saw that coming, what with the poem's title and all. The next line alluding to Isaiah invites you into this shadow, since it's the best you're going to get. For his description, Eliot Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what adapted the prose of his ancestor Sir Thomas there is to conquer Elyot, and if you read what he began with By strength and submission, has already been it is amazing how much was given to him discovered.
And found and lost again and again. The vision of a dance emphasizes not the individual but the life in which we all take The British army was then preparing to part, a chain of regenerative dances and vari- defend the territory that had been lost and ations, two by two necessary conjunction won again at terrible cost just a generation which began before we were born and will before.
It would depend upon the discipline go on in its rhythmic way after we die. Although he thought Christian faith Thunder rolled by the rolling stars. The world to that destructive fire At first, the dance appears to belong to Which burns before the ice-cap reigns. He from the beginning of the passage, so com- had the perspective of an Anglo-American at ing full circle.
A the balance and harmony they describe, and living embodiment of the Atlantic alliance, there are masterly small entwinings too. His writing was outrageously new, yet word to last, and the second line reverses he thought of it as traditional. Dust to dust. In my end is the age, he became not just religious, but an my beginning.
In addition to which there is Anglo-Catholic neatly splicing another di- the echo between one line and the other of vision. Good things which we can still see when we walk writers come and go, but so in the end do through the lanes. But it is not a provincial great writers—even the very greatest. And poem, in space or time. For if Homer gave the memorial libraries, and the universities. This can be because of historic events themselves: think of Water- From that perspective, it is impossible to loo or Bunker Hill.
Or it can be through ar- find a scale of values.
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Soil and veg- stirred by his own family connections, cen- etables are two different things, but what I turies deep.
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