41 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2016
  2. teaching.lfhanley.net teaching.lfhanley.net
    1. (And I Tiresias have foresuffered all Enacted on this same divan or bed; I who have sat by Thebes below the wall And walked among the lowest of the dead.)

      In this instance of voice, Tiresias becomes the speaker of the poem. It is contained within parenthesis, which gives it a far away or dreamy quality. This fits with the idea/feel of a prophecy, and Tiresias is a Seer. The voice is prophetic, all-knowing, and because it deals with the future, the voice is bending the idea of time.

    2. “You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

      This instance of voice (its address of reader) makes one not only look at the voices within the text of the poem and the speaker of the poem but also the literal voice of the reader of the poem who reads aloud and addresses OTHER readers of the poem, which adds a layer of depth to the poem and to the motif of voice that wasn't as present before.

    3. Then spoke the thunder DA
    4. cicada

    5. Phlebas


    6. whirlpool

    7. Tiresias

    8. the violet hour

      the sky at dusk

    9. Thames

      Picture of the Thames river (and the London Bridge) in 1910

    10. Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.

      Ophelia during this scene in Hamlet (the BBC version).

    11. nightingale

      the nightingale, or the bird that Philomel becomes.

    12. Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

      Datta: give/giving

      Dayadhvam: compassion/be compassionate

      Damyata: control/self-control

    13. DA

      "Da" in German is similar to the English word "there." It is also used to mean "being present," not just as a location pointer. It was originally "there" as in "not here" but as all words' meanings morph over time, it can now also mean "then." So "Da" as a word occupies a space and a time.

    14. O you

      This feels like a direct address to the reader. It feels didactic and adds to the overall sense of a religious sermon or teaching that comes from the section as a whole. It implicates the reader in the poem and asks the reader to address their own mortality.

    15. Tiresias

      as previously mentioned, Tiresias lived life both as a man initially, but he was transformed into a women for several years. He makes appearances in many Greek legends and stories, but the one that stands out to many is his role in Oedipus the King. He speaks truths that people often don't want to know (like when Oedipus asks who killed Laius). His prophesies always come true through the actions of others (even as they try to prevent it). Even in the afterlife, he advises Odysseus, which is what is alluded to in the following line: "bring the sailor home from sea." Tiresias experiences a doubleness which allows him to see more.

    16. Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.

      This line is taken from Hamlet. Ophelia speaks it to Gertrude and Claudius while she grieves (and sings) for the death of her father. This line is interesting to think about in that context, especially when you consider the tragic/unfair fate Shakespeare writes for Ophelia and the larger issue of gender in Hamlet. Does this relate to Lil?

    17. A heap of broken images

      I think this line refers to the poem itself. The poem is full of images as it moves, and often they feel disparate and negative, like "dead land" next to "breeding lilacs" in the opening two lines. The poem is a pile of fragments brought together. The fragments interact within the pile or the poem to create meaning.

  3. Sep 2016
    1. Measure a measure a measure

      "Measure" first seems to be a verb and then the next "measure" is a noun! Is Stein trying to make readers think about the structure and rules of language? Is she investigating the rules? Is she breaking them?

    2. Willie

      Switching between Willie and Henry makes me wonder if Stein is again thinking about how interchangeable words/people might be?

    3. Pause.

      this feels like a literal pause in the piece. why does Stein want readers to slow down?

    4. pass

      Stein repeats the almost the same phrase--the only difference is that she first uses "mass" and then replaces it with "pass." I wonder if she's using sound to interrogate language (how do words function and have meanings in the first place)? Are words interchangeable really, if language is meaningless or not real?

    1. less

      What's interesting about the word "less" here is that it is in opposition to earlier lines where the speaker admits they had been worn "about the same" and that the paths "equally lay / In leaves." Focusing on this different created once Frost uses the word "less" changes this poem from its usual reading into something more deceptive. Since the path the speaker took is not really less traveled by, has it really made any difference at all? Is the speaker just, in his older age ("somewhere ages and ages hence"), trying to convince himself as he looks back on his life that he made all the right choices and lived the best life he could? It seems more like he is trying to dissuade the "what ifs" he holds than telling the audience that he honestly took the better path. He even "sighs" as he says it! Because Frost uses the word "less," we know we can't trust the speaker anymore in this last stanza. The paths are the same.

    2. Abishag

      With this name, Frost nods to legendarily beautiful Abishag of Shunem noted in the Bible. It sets up the witch and the rest of the poem. Abishag is chosen to be a sort of nurse and lie with David and keep him warm, although they never have sex because David (very old at this point) did not want to be proven as infertile. Because of her position with David, she has a sort of claim to the throne. Not for herself, but for the one who marries her.

      To recognize the witch as Abishag, who was renowned for her youth, beauty, and virginity (all of the Bible's favorite things in a woman) sets up how far from grace she has fallen to now be a "crone." I think Frost is using this transformation of beautiful youth to withered hag as an example of time, how time ravishes a person. Everything eventually decays, even memories of someone/something.

    3. sleep

      "Sleep" could of course mean literal sleep in a bed at home, but I think it's more. In one reading, it can be a relaxation. The end of the day. The speaker must fulfill his obligations, which are many and maybe daunting ("miles"), but one he does he will be able to relax. "Sleep" could also be death. He has much to do before reaching the ultimate peace of death. Or, as seen in the repetition, maybe he is dying. The repetition could be interpreted as a fading away, a nodding off--the speaker falling asleep (dying). Taking the whole poem into account, the "sleep" is seductive. Death, while dark, is also lovely in its own way, and he could be succumbing to it. The repetition could also be the speaker trying to convince himself not to succumb to it. He is making sure that he won't, an affirmation. This ambiguity is important to the poem. It resists being pinned down one way.

    1. loom

      A loom is something used to weave yarn and thread into fabric. I think Edgar Lee Masters is using the device to paint a picture for us that the aforementioned tragedy, comedy, etc. are all in the fabric being made, the fabric of life and art, and they repeat and intertwine over and over again in the same ways. I tie the loom with life because in Greek myth, the three Fates weave and control the Great Loom which has the threads of all of our lives intertwining to create a pattern they've set out for us before we were ever born. They control the length of our lives and deaths as well. I think Masters is purposefully nodding to Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos, and their loom.

    1. we

      Not only is the character referring to himself in the third person, as Mr. Flood, but instead of using the pronoun "you" as one usually does in third person when speaking about oneself, the poet uses the word "we." Mr. Flood is, with language, splitting himself into two so that he isn't so lonely. He doesn't just talk to himself, but he talks with himself.

    2. native

      I think choosing the word native is important here because we can think about it as Native Americans or we could think about it generally, as I think it was meant here. People who are from a certain place and belong to a certain place. Saying there was not a "native" on the road with him emphasizes the loneliness as there was no one there with him who belonged. Also, Eben Flood is on the road where there are no natives. It increases the feelings of alienation, loneliness, and foreignness that Eben feels and that the poem communicates.

    1. “I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!”

      This line is interesting. In both readings I see from this, this is where the narrator is the woman and the woman is the narrator. The narrator has clearly identified with the women in the wallpaper and they have finally become one, after the building parallels between them. However, the ambiguous part about this line: is Jane a misprint for Jennie, the sister? Or is Jane the narrator, and the narrator has forgotten who she is completely and has taken on the identity of the women she sees in the wall?

    2. The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow

      I'm thinking about color symbolism. While many people may associate yellow with joy, yellow in literature often portrays sickness, falseness, and decay (The Great Gatsby, Great Expections, etc.). Considering the narrator's state of mind, environment (the asylum-room), illness, and future, yellow is an important and fitting choice.

    3. but John would not hear of it.

      John is mentioned in almost every sentence/every paragraph. Even as she gives her opinion or describes a setting, his (often opposing) opinion and actions come right after it. This repetition of John this and John that after everything she thinks and sees is a reflection of how controlling he is of every aspect of her life. It also gives John a sense of constant omnipresence, a godliness that emphasizes his control and power.

    1. only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others

      This is a super interesting theory that holds a lot of truth. You are aware of your value through the perceptions of others. It's a kind of voyeurism, really, as you are always watching yourself through someone else. It reminds me of the novel Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson and how the main character realizes his mixed race and suddenly sees himself in the mirror, from the outside. He then notes every experience, every thought, every action of his is "colored" from that moment on.

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

      This is a beautiful, heartbreaking way to refer to the realization of race. The shadow represents literal darkness of skin but also the "sweeping" and overwhelming emotional darkness that comes with being the "other" in a racist society. The scene detailed after is almost like a primal scene (but one of race) in that social relations are formed and realized.

    1. St. Gaudens instinctively preferred the horse

      Animals/nature are symbols of power, the horse here and the Lion in Levine's poem. In both, humans (even significant ones like the Virgin) are not.


      I am interested in why he chooses to use the Virgin in his title over Venus, as he discusses both. Maybe so the title is more parallel? Maybe the Virgin is more contemporary? I don't think it's because the Virgin is more virtuous, Adams seems to recognize both as forces which are neither positive nor negative.

    3. America was ashamed of her, and she was ashamed of herself, otherwise they would not have strewn fig-leaves so profusely all over her.

      This points out the way womanhood is constructed in America--female sexuality is wrong and should be hidden. The female body itself should be hidden. Venus has no force in American for these reasons. The image of fig-leaves bring to mind images of Eve, which nods again the the lack of power religon (like the Virgin) holds in America, aiding the power science gains instead.

    4. All the steam in the world could not, like the Virgin, build Chartres.

      The force and the power that the Virgin and her symbolism holds over people is what makes the creation of Chartes and great art and monuments possible. The power in technology, in steam engines, cannot similarly be expressed in art. Americans don't understand the power of the Virgin or of Venus because they don't value sex or reproduction or religion as strongly as other cultures previously have and so they value science.

    5. Radium denied its God–or, what was to Langley the same thing, denied the truths of his Science.

      There is, throughout this paragraph, there is not an equation of science and religion but a suggestion that science is replacing religion for people. People have a belief in technology that becomes an attracting force.

  4. Aug 2016
    1. From the ferocity of pig driven to holiness,

      I think this is a comment on industrialization and how capitalism/profit become a new religion, almost, the motivation for everything. Greed becomes something "good" in that being a factory owner (for example) is respectable, sought-after and that it is okay to value profit over the people who work for you.

    2. They feed they Lion and he comes

      This is where the anger that builds throughout the poem, gaining momentum through the repetitions of "out of" and "They Lion grow," finally bursts. The lion comes.

      This line, the lion coming, also makes me think about birth and Yeat's poem with the lion. I wonder if it is a reference to Yeat's poem in which is travels to another city to be born after apocalypse. If so, I think it can relate to the feeling of uprising after despair in this poem.

      Something that is interesting and that I have questions about: Why does Levine choose to call the Lion a "he" and not an "it," a "He" (as a reference to Jesus), or a "she"?

    3. Gutted cars, earth is calling in her little ones

      I think this line exemplifies the conflict between the "industrial" vs. the "natural." The first stanza is full of industrialization and the unfair/unjust lives the working class lead, and in this line you can see that the natural is opposed to that--the anger feeds the Lion. Their joining is death. At the same time, the industrial is humanized as it can be "gutted." I think this is a comment on the dialectic relationship humans now have with the industrial, although the humans are still all natural--they are the earth's children.

    4. West Virginia to Kiss My Ass

      There is a resentment throughout the poem most clearly seen in this line. It's a comment on the state of the country, the similar situations found from place to place. It doesn't matter where the subject is going--it's all the same and they resent that. The anger is a hint at the resistance (They Lion) that is coming.