39 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2016
  2. teaching.lfhanley.net teaching.lfhanley.net
    1. Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed

      This line is significant because it implies the possibility of that the cycle of life can be disrupted not just by death, but also by natural processes that prevent rebirth.

    2. And other withered stumps of time

      This is another example of an image of a plant that cannot regenerate itself, which reminds us that it is possible for the cycle of life to be disrupted.

    3. To get yourself some teeth.

      You only get one set of teeth, and the only way to get new ones is through an artificial process. In this case the cycle of death and rebirth is disrupted not by a failure of rebirth or by death, but rather by the desire to preserve life.

    4. The nymphs are departed. And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors; Departed, have left no addresses.

      Nymphs are nature spirits, so for the nymphs (and even the city directors) to depart and leave no address implies that the cycle of life has been disrupted.

    5. Here is no water but only rock

      Water is necessary for the cycle of biological life. Take away water, and this cycle of life is disrupted, leaving only rock.

    6. Dull roots with spring rain

      roots should grow with rain, rather than be dull

    7. powdered, or liquid


    8. Starnbergersee

      Lake Starnberg (German: Starnberger See) — called Lake Würm (German Würmsee) until 1962, and also known as Fürstensee — is Germany's fifth largest freshwater lake in terms of area and, due to its great average depth, the second largest in terms of water volume.

    9. mountains of rock without water

      This line ties together the rock and mountain of Chapter I and the water of III and IV and gives us continuity.

    10. With a wicked pack of cards.

      The clairvoyante’s cards seem to be Tarot cards in this stanza.

      Most obviously, “The Hanged Man” is the name of one of the major arcana/trumps, representing a traitorous person, or a crossroads. “The Wheel [of Fortune]” is also a trump, and represents change and movement, and the cycle of life.

      The other cards all appear to be minor arcana. “The drowned Phoenician Sailor” seems to refer to the Ten of Swords, representing anguish and defeat, but with a chance of hope. (It is considered one of the most negative cards.) “Belladonna / Lady of the Rocks / Lady of Situations” is the Queen of Cups, representing a difficult road with a large reward at the end. “The man with three staves” is the Three of Wands, representing a journey, or hope for renewal. (Interestingly, this card often depicts a man looking out on a wasteland.) Finally, “the one-eyed merchant” would likely be the Six of Pentacles/Coins, representing equality and generosity.

      This could be read into much more deeply than the general meanings of each card, but overall, the message appears to be “bleak, but with hope of salvation or reparation.”

    11. In the mountains, there you feel free.

      Interesting, because a snowy mountain is also a fairly desolate place (dead trees/plants, deadly stillness or harsh wind, untouched landscape, etc), but it is seen as beautiful instead of distasteful like the wasteland that Eliot describes.

    12. Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit There is not even silence in the mountains

      These dry summer mountains are so different from the sheltering winter mountains in the beginning of the poem. The mountain is dead, and still able to work destruction even with "teeth that cannot spit." We get away from death by water and leap into the jaws of death by thirst...escaping the misery is impossible.

    13. who was once handsome and tall as you

      Obviously on some level a warning about our helplessness in the face of death, but also reminds me of Marie talking about her childhood feeling free in the mountains. She was "free" and Phlebas was "handsome and tall," but the trajectory seems to point down for everyone in more ways than physical as they approach death (whether by old age or not).

    14. By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept

      A biblical allusion, though I guess this isn't a surprise, referencing the captive Israelites' mourning song at the rivers of Babylon. The intriguing thing here is the contrast between that reference and the word "leman," which is apparently an obscure term for lover, and the preceding references to sexual exploits. Eliot seems to be emphasizing the pollution of sexuality by using the polluted Thames and himself "polluting" a traditional story.

    15. roubled, confused And drowned the sense in odours

      This picks up on the "death by water" theme, but more in keeping with this section's focus on femininity, putting a malevolent or predatory impulse behind objects seen as feminine. It's a sensual rather than literal drowning, and starts to lend a sexual tone to the drowning imagery.

    16. A current under sea Picked his bones in whispers.

      Water/ocean reclaiming, could be seen as despairing or hopeful.

  3. Oct 2015
    1. The river sweats                Oil and tar

      This indented description appears to be a memory; possibly of the past life on the river? The oil and tar the river sweats is a sign of its robust action and production. If so, Eliot therefore switches the speaker between past and present, a temporal shift that is comparable to Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"

    2. But at my back from time to time I hear The sound of horns and motors

      Everyday life has grounded to a halt, and only every so often does he here noise of life. With this image proceeding the one about the "rattle of bones", Eliot seems to be steering towards the construction of a semi-apocalyptic world. Death everywhere and life nowhere.

    3. Musing upon the king my brother’s wreck

      Evokes an image of a desolate ship washed up in the river. Is Eliot playing on the dual meaning of the world wreck - as in a ship-wreck, and the wreck society is in?

    4. Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

      Firstly, his reference to the river as "Sweet" implies his love for it. This sense of yearning for water over dry/barren/dusty landscape prevails throughout the poem. Secondly, the construction of the sentence almost implies that he is aware the water is going to stop running, but pleading with the river to continue until he finishes his song, thus the poem.

    5. Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends

      Products of import/export? Silk and tobacco were two imported products that were of high demand in Britain (and most of the western world) in the 20's. The cardboard boxes again evoke that image of packaging/posting. Through this, is Eliot alluding to the role of the river as a prime medium of industry and civilization, that because of modern technology, is no longer needed and therefore dying?

    6. The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank.

      Conveys a profound notion of the river's decaying existence. The "tent" infers a sense of a support/sheltered feature that no longer exists within it; whilst the leaves desperately "clutch" the water, before sinking into the wet ground. Maybe an image of the river drying up?

  4. teaching.lfhanley.net teaching.lfhanley.net
    1. Her drying combinations touched by the sun’s last rays

      could this drying signify purifying?

    2. Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
    3. brown fog
    4. The shouting and the crying
    5. he river’s tent

      a wet river has a tent which are meant as shelter to keep the insides dry? unless there is something about rivers i don't know about this line also seems like a juxtapose for the wet dry motif

    6. sea-wood fed with copper

      aside from the obvious wet dry sea wood contrast i think its interesting to also have the word copper in the line. from my understanding salt water is really corrosive to metals but not as much to wood. and the sea wood is being fed with copper. so this line is also kind of zombie ish.

    7. And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air

      drowned is typically associated with water as well as stirring but in this line the air is stirring

    8. urked her strange synthetic perfumes, Unguent, powdered, or liquid—

      the contrast of perfumes as either wet or dry

    9. water but only rock Rock and no water and the sandy road The road winding above among the mountains Which are mountains of rock without water If there were water we should stop and drink Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
    10. Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
    11. Waited for rain
    12. Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop    But there is no water
    13. If there were water    And no rock    If there were rock    And also water    And water    A spring    A pool among the rock    If there were the sound of water only
    14. Sweat is dry

      Sweat can become dried on one's skin, but it is not dry to begin with.

    15. And if it rains, a closed car at four.

      again, he contrasts the wetness of the rain with the dry "closed" car they will seek refuge in when it begins

    16. sea-wood

      juxtaposes the wet sea with dry wood

    17. candle-flames