34 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2015
    1. who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,

      They may be high on narcotics, but the whole world is in a drunk, addicted "tobacco haze of Capitalism".

    2. leaving no broken hearts

      Is this Ginsberg inferring that they are, despite their social perception of their dangerous mad state, are actually harmless? They, unlike the majority of society, don't break any hearts and therefore don't actually hurt anyone.

    3. leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards

      They want to be remembered, to leave "a trail" that insinuates their presence of earth.

  2. Oct 2015
    1. Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song. The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed. And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors;  180 Departed, have left no addresses.

      Eliot repeats this first line throughout his depiction of the Wasteland. His reference to the river as “Sweet Thames” encapsulates his melancholy, elegiac depiction of the river that underpins much of the poem. The proceeding request for the river to “run softy, till I end my song”, is a proleptic image which implies he is copiously aware of the immanency in it ceasing to exist.

      This sense of lifelessness is further evoked through the following lines, where both the speaker and the reader become increasingly aware of the river’s decaying life, and the city it runs through. Although it initially appears as an image of unpolluted positivity, Eliot envisages how the river “bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers”, an image that quickly transcends into Eliot’s discussion of objects of import. Silk and tobacco were imported products that, throughout 19th Century Britain, were likely to have been in high demand; whilst the cardboard boxes immediately conjure images of shipping and material exchange. Through this, Eliot envisages a river running dry of the industrial and material purpose that used to once define it.

      Widely known as the world’s busiest port, London and the River Thames were leading figures of social progression throughout Europe in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Powerfully encapsulated by comments made by British MP John Burns in 1929, “The St Lawrence is water, the Mississippi is muddy water, but the Thames is liquid history”, Eliot depicts the river as losing the very fibres of the past that once characterized its existence. The river that occupies much of Eliot’s text is one that bears no evidence of the “summer nights”, thus contented human consumption, nor the nymphs who have “departed”.

      Eliot’s employment of the nymphs draws strong parallels between his work and Edmund Spenser’s. As one of many incidences throughout “The Wasteland” in which Eliot adopts the words of classic works, here, Eliot quotes the refrain of Spenser's wedding-song in which nymphs figure as "lovely Daughters of the flood". Illustrated in the image below, the scene from Spenser’s work portrays the women as living off and around the rich, natural landscape and flowing river.

      Nymphs of The River

      Eliot’s proceeding depiction that 'the nymphs have departed', clearly illustrates that there is no women, because there is no river. In constructing them to depart, Eliot immediately delivers the reader with a much bleaker reality of the river and the life that surrounds it - reverberating the concept of an empty, wasteland, modern day city; a lifelessness defined by the inactivity of the river.

    1. the Racial Mountain

      The metaphorical description of the racial struggle faced by the black artist as a "mountain" creates an interesting contrast to the poem's predominant imagery/theme of the city. As direct produce of the Harlem Renaissance, the text (as well as Hughes himself) is immersed in the concept of the cosmopolitan/bustling/developing city. His references to blues and jazz and the depiction of the "common-element" of society living "on Seventh Street in Washington or State Street in Chicago" line the poem with nods to 1920's Americanized city life. Even the concept of "the artist" generates inescapable connotations of the urban landscape.

    2. The colored people did not praise it. The white people did not buy it.

      Hughes is depicting the racial limbo a black artist finds them-self - in many ways it constructs a double-identity. This mirrors the "doubleness" Du Bois evokes through the opening page of "The Souls of Black Folk", as placing his work against that of Arthur Symons, Du Bois highlights how the black writer belongs to neither the white audience that dominate the literary world, nor the normal community that inspires his content.

    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?

    1. 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

    2. sea-wood

      juxtaposes the wet sea with dry wood

    3. drowned
    4. the roots that clutch

      a desperate image of life?

    5. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow

      It seems that the speaker doesn't like anything that expresses life. He wants the world, and the people in it, to remain emotionally and physically dormant.

  3. Sep 2015
    1. with its isolate lakes and valleys

      The broken structure of enjambment that is deployed throughout the poem steers it away from conventional poetical structure. It creates a continuous stream of thought, in which the speaker's constantly developing outlook on society, reflects the equally as fast-paced developments of society itself.

    2. viburnum

      a plant that seems to have medicinal qualities - further evidence that the women need help?

    3. ungainly hips and flopping breasts

      an unflattering depiction that draws on the two most important body parts for a woman's role in bearing a child - is this Williams adhering to gender stereotype/stigma in order to convey the brutality of it?

    1. snow

      What is the relevance of the snow/the weather? As it is repeated in both the title and the opening stanza.

    2. woods

      Do the woods represent - like the conventional literary model suggests - madness?

    1. alnage of the years.

      Depicts quite a powerful image of the Clerks still clipping at the same materials all these years. Also establishes an image of waste - a large pile up of aimless cuttings - that can be related to the path of their lives.

    2. as they ever were.

      Quite ambiguous from Robinson. Makes you question how good and human is "as they ever were"?

    3. I did not think that I should find them there When I came back again

      The use of enjambment introduces the setting with an unexpected notion of revisiting. The first line opens the poem as if to state that this is the first time Robinson has been to this place, yet when it runs over into the second line we learn that he has been here before. This sense of revisiting establishes early on a sense of physical repetition that largely features in the poem - particularly the "small town syndrome" these Clerks lose their lives to.

    1. So we took the nursery at the top of the house.

      Interesting that she is located in what was a nursery. There are significant references throughout the story of her husband babying her and this is one. Possibly linked to his patriarchal dominance and control in their relationship? Particularly her mental health?

    2. It is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village.

      Gilman opens the illustrations of the house with a strong sense of isolation. Describing it as "quite alone", the house is aligned with the protagonist and the mental remoteness her anxiety places her in.She, like the house, is detached from the mainstream stream of thought that constitutes normal societal practice.

    3. John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad.

      This conveys a sense of the negative stigma that more than likely surrounded mental health back in the 19th Century when the short story was written. The reader immediately sympathises with the protagonist in her not being able to "think about" her problem, let alone talk about it. Almost a prolepsis for the deteriorating mental stability and health that she will face in the pages to come.

    1. but rather in large conformity to the greater ideals of the American Republic, in order that some day on American soil two world-races may give each to each those characteristics both so sadly lack.

      Almost a reference to the double identity of America. Where the poem was mainly focused on the double identity of the African-American throughout its opening, it now utilises that same concept to highlight the weak and inconsistent racial void that divides the two races of America, and thus the American identity.

    2. the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world

      Here Du Bois channels his anger of the American-American’s double identity – he who can only see himself through the superior veil of his white counterpart – through the religious reference “the Negro” as a “sort of seventh son” to God. Perhaps this is Du Bois attempting to make a mockery of religion and the prejudice that Christian values can’t explain. Also links to the question “Why did God make ma an outcast and a stranger in mine own house?"

    3. I remember well when the shadow swept across me.

      Quite a poignant description that personifies the racial burden and double identity Du Bois experienced as a young child. The reference to it as a “shadow” infers a sense of darkness in both the blackness of his skin and an unshakable, visible burden which follows him round for the rest of his life.

    1. In these seven years man had translated himself into a new universe which had no common scale of measurement with the old.

      This line seems to sum up the whole poem - Adams the character finds no bridge connecting the past and the future. There is no gradual, easing-in phase but rather a direct translation from one societal practice to another. The developments are so rapid over time they lack the relevance of time.

    2. Before the end, one began to pray to it; inherited instinct taught the natural expression of man before silent and infinite force

      Through this the Dynamo is aligned with the power of God (a "silent and infinite force") which is likewise on the receiving end of man's worship and prayer. Connects to the idea of modernisation encouraging human's to worship something other than God, but rather technology, derailing the concept of faith within society.

  4. Aug 2015
    1. "Earth is eating trees, fence posts, / Gutted cars, earth is calling in her little ones". Levine conveys a sense of earth wanting to reclaim the materials that build and sustain American society. The "fence posts" and "cars" reference plays on two iconic images of the American dream (the white picket fence and the ability to own a car) that were sold to society in a bid to make them strive to achieve it. This could possibly be Levine inferring the destructive nature of the American Dream, the establishment that feeds it and the ugly and "oil-stained earth" they subsequently create.