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Transcript of T.S. Eliot
Impactful Events in T.S. Eliot's Life
World War I- When WWI broke out, Eliot was force to leave his program in Germany and move to London. When the United States entered into the war effort, Eliot attempted to join the Navy, but was declined. As Eliot watched the events of World War I unfold, he was disgusted by the alienation and distrubance that plagued Western civilization. As a result, many of Eliots poems focused on the war, and their style displayed the disoriented, horrifying nature of war.
Childhood- As mentioned previously, Eliot's childhood in Missouri and New England greatly influenced his poetry. Eliot loved the landscapes of his youth which can be seen in some of his poetry.
Religious Conversion- In 1927, Eliot converted from Aetheism to Christianity. After his conversion, much of Eliot's poems centered around religion.
Themes, Style, and Form in T.S. Eliot's Work
Writers that influenced T.S. Eliot
Charlotte Champe Stearns
- As the mother of T. S. Eliot, Charlotte had a great amount of influnced on the famous poet. Charlotte wrote multiple religious poems and one dramatic poem which had a preface by her son. T. S. Eliot greatly respected his mothers work.
while at Harvard, Eliot discovered Symons' book
The Symbolist Movement in Literature
, a work that greatly influenced Eliot's use of French symbolism in his poems and his Modernist style.
Eliot discovered the French symbolist poet Jules Laforgue through his reading of Arthur Symons' work. By reading many of Laforgue's poems and the work of other French symbolists, Eliot began to develope his own mirroring style, one which contained juxtapositions, irony, wit, concern for humanity, and interesting play with rhyme scheme.
F. H. Bradley-
When Eliot studied at Harvard, he worked under a disciple of Bradley, a famous British philosopher and philosophy writer, who Eliot became fascinated in. Eliot even wrote his dissertation on Bradely. Eliot's thought process has greatly transformed by Bradley's work, and Bradley even contributed to Eliot's prose style.
- While at Oxford, Eliot was discovered by the up and coming modernist poet, Ezra Pound. Pound greatly respected Eliot's work, and Eliot began to use some of the same modernist techniques as Pound. Eliot and Pound remained very close for much of their lives.
Dante, the incredibly famous Italian poet of the late Middle Ages, was incredibly influential to Eliot. Dante's Four Levels can be traced through many of Eliot's poems. Additionally, many literary allusions to Dante's
can be found in Eliot's work.
Poet Research Project by Paige Resnick
Thomas Stearns Eliot was born September 26, 1888 in St. Louis, Missouri. Eliot was the youngest of six children, and he was was taught the main principles of religion, education, and community from a very young age. The Eliots were originially based in New England, and spent many summers in Massachusetts. The landscapes and culture of both Missouri and New England had profound impacts on Eliot's poetry.
Eliot lead a quite happy life in Missouri with two kind and educated parents. Eliot himself was very well educated througout his growing up. Eliot wrote his first poetry while at Smith Academy at the age of fourteen, but was horrified by the results and destroyed them. Eliot eventually attended Harvard College where he studied philosophy. Eliot traveled a lot after graduation, moving to Paris, then back to Harvard, and then to Germany. However, World War I broke out, so Eliot was forced to move his studies to Oxford.
Eliot married Vivienne Haigh-Wood in 1914, but their marriage was a quite unhappy one, particualrly because of Vivienne's health issues. Mrs. Eliot was eventually admitted to a mental hospital where she later died. Eliot remarried, however, at the age of 68 to the 30 year old Esmé Valerie Fletcher.
By the 1960's, Eliot's health began to fail, and he passed away on January 4, 1965.
The majority of Eliot's work was written and published between 1915 and 1922.
Religion: Particularly after his conversion to the Anglican church, many of Eliot's poems centered on religion. Eliot believed that all literature and all of society should be connected to religion, specifically Christianity. Eliot had very conservative religious views, and professed those views throughout his works.
War-torn Europe and Damaged Humanity: With the onset of World War I, Eliot aimed to capture the fragmented world around him, condemning the violence that had paralyzed an entire world.
Cats: Eliot wrote an entire collection of poems about the interesting nature of feline behavior, mainly with the simple intent to amuse his friends. However, these lighthearted poems were turned into the famed musical "Cats."
Symbolism: Following the work of French symbolists, Eliot used many symbols in all of his works.
Repetition: Much verbal repetition can be found in Eliot's works, a tool he used to highlight his theme.
Allusion: Eliot alluded to many historical events and past literature in his poems, particularly the work of Dante.
Juxtaposition: Eliot's frequent, often harsh juxtaposition gave his poems an interesting depth and contrast.
Interior monologue: Eliot liked to express his poetic persona's inner thoughts through interior monologue, so many of his works involve this form.
Free Verse: Eliot greatly popularized free verse poetry, but his work still has a very sing-song like rhythm.
The Hollow Men
The broad-backed hippopotamus
Rests on his belly in the mud;
Although he seems so firm to us
He is merely flesh and blood.
Flesh-and-blood is weak and frail,
Susceptible to nervous shock;
While the True Church can never fail
For it is based upon a rock.
The hippo's feeble steps may err
In compassing material ends,
While the True Church need never stir
To gather in its dividends.
The 'potamus can never reach
The mango on the mango-tree;
But fruits of pomegranate and peach
Refresh the Church from over sea.
At mating time the hippo's voice
Betrays inflexions hoarse and odd,
But every week we hear rejoice
The Church, at being one with God.
The hippopotamus's day
Is passed in sleep; at night he hunts;
God works in a mysterious way--
The Church can sleep and feed at once.
I saw the 'potamus take wing
Ascending from the damp savannas,
And quiring angels round him sing
The praise of God, in loud hosannas.
Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean
And him shall heavenly arms enfold,
Among the saints he shall be seen
Performing on a harp of gold.
He shall be washed as white as snow,
By all the martyr'd virgins kist,
While the True Church remains below
Wrapt in the old miasmal mist.
Miss Helen Slingsby was my maiden aunt,
And lived in a small house near a fashionable square
Cared for by servants to the number of four.
Now when she died there was silence in heaven
And silence at her end of the street.
The shutters were drawn and the undertaker wiped his feet —
He was aware that this sort of thing had occurred before.
The dogs were handsomely provided for,
But shortly afterwards the parrot died too.
The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantelpiece,
And the footman sat upon the dining-table
Holding the second housemaid on his knees —
Who had always been so careful while her mistress lived.
Morning at the Window
They are rattling breakfast plates in basement kitchens,
And along the trampled edges of the street
I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids
Sprouting despondently at area gates.
The brown waves of fog toss up to me
Twisted faces from the bottom of the street,
And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts
An aimless smile that hovers in the air
And vanishes along the level of the roofs.
The Naming of Cats
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
The readers of the Boston Evening Transcript
Sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn.
When evening quickens faintly in the street,
Wakening the appetites of life in some
And to others bringing the Boston Evening Transcript,
I mount the steps and ring the bell, turning
Wearily, as one would turn to nod good-bye to Rochefoucauld,
If the street were time and he at the end of the street,
And I say, "Cousin Harriet, here is the Boston Evening Transcript."
The Boston Evening Transcript
Body of His Work
Eliot published a total of 30 poems throughout his life, some of which were released in collections, and many of which published between 1917 and 1945. Additionally, Eliot wrote 20 works of nonfiction, 7 works of prose, and 7 plays.
"T(homas) S(tearns) Eliot." International Dictionary of Theatre. Vol. 2. Gale, 1993. Biography in Context. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.
"Thomas Stearns Eliot." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.
Baskett, Sam S., ed. "T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)." http://faculty.georgetown.edu/
. Georgetown University, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.
"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality."
Title- At first glance, the title seems to be describing a group of men who are quite empty of emotion or purpose.
Paraphrase- This poem begins with two epigraphs- the first is a quotation from the novel
Heart of Darkness
in which the author is commenting on the death of one of his characters, Kurtz. The second epigraph is a colloquial expression used by British children who are asking for money in order to buy fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day which celebrates the failure of a plot to blow up the British Parliament. Then, the poem begins: We are called the Hollow Men We are empty and lead meaningless lives., but at the same time we aren’t empty. We’re fullof straw, including our heads. We huddle together for support and we are incapable of communicating in a meaningful fashion. We do not really live at all. We live in a kingdom of death, but we never committed any destructive or violent acts, so we do not live Hell itself. However, the people who do go to Heaven pass us on their way and know us as the Hollow Men. I dare not look other people in the eyes, not even in my dreams. In my dreams, I see a broken column and a tree swinging in the breeze. I hear voices in the wind, but they are very distant and sad. I am afraid to die, so I need to cover myself and disguise myself. No one can see the real me. I am like a scarecrow in a field. I go whatever direction the wind blows. I fear my final judgement with God. This is the desert with nothing but cacti and stones. No matter how much we plea and pray, we are only answered by the useless nature around us. Will it be like this when we die? Will we be alone? We yearn for love, but we just say pointless prayers. We are blind and we are in an empty, dark valley. We are waiting here together in the afterlife, waiting to be taken to Heaven or Hell. We are afraid and reach for each other to hold onto, but we don’t say a word. We will remain blind, but we hope to regain our sight. However, this is a pointless hope. The last section begins with a stanza modeled after the nursery rhyme "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush," except instead of a mulberry bush, the children are circling a prickly pear cactus. We are like these ridiculous children. A sort of shadow has paralyzed all of our actions. The shadow stops responses, reactions, creations, and even existance. Then, the world ends, but not in a spectacular way, but with very soft crying.
Form- short lines give the poem a sense of breathlessness or exhaustion.
Rhyme Scheme- The poem is written in free verse, giving it even greater feelings of senselessness, confusion, and despair.
Lines 1-2- Paradox: "We are the hollow men/ We are the stuffed men": They cannot be both hollow and stuffed at the same time, but this paradox shows that the men are simply full of useless thoughts and actions.
Line 2- "We are the stuffed men" metaphor for scarecrows.
Stanza 1- Repetition of "dry": gives great desert imagery that is seen later in the poem.
Lines 7-9- Metaphor "quiet and meaningless/ As wind in dry grass/ Or rats' feet over broken glass": used to show how disgusting and pointless the hollow men are like wind or rats.
Lines 11-12- Parallel Structure: "Without...without..." emphasizes the emptiness of the hollow men.
Lines 13-14- Allusion: "Those who have crossed/ With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom" is an allusion to Dante’s
where those “with direct eyes” are blessed by God in Heaven.
Lines 15-16- Allusion: "lost/Violent souls" could refer to both Fawkes and Kurtz who failed in their attempts to create violence and chaos.
Section 2- Metaphor: Eyes can be a metaphor for someone's soul.
Line 23- "broken column" can also be a symbol for a grave or gravestone.
Lines 32-33- Alliteration of "d" and "c"- adds to the harsh form and lack of rhyme.
Section 2- More scarecrow imagery.
Section 3- Desert imagery contribute to the feelings of loneliness and despair.
Section 3- Stones could be a symbol/synecdoche for gravestones.
Line 43- Diction: "Supplication" refers to prayer.
Sections 2,3,4-Symbol: Fading/Dying Stars: stars can be a symbol for Christ, so fading or dying stars can show a weakening of faith in Christ.
Line 57- Symbol: "Last of meeting places" refers to God's final judgement.
Line 60- Allusion: Dante's River Acheron flowing around hell or the river Marlow follows into the African "heart of darkness."
Lines 63-64- Allusion: "Multifoliate rose" refers to Dante's Paradiso where he says that the highest level of heaven is of a rose whose petals are formed by Mary and the saints.
Lines 68-71- Allusion- These lines imitate a children's song that is derived from a dance done around a mulberry bush. Mulberry bush is substituted by a prickly pear which is a desert plant (more desert imagery). Additionally, 5:00 am is typically acknowledged as the time of Christ's ressurection.
Line 77- Allusion: "For thine is the Kingdom" comes from the Lord's Prayer, but Eliot also uses diction and never finishes it to show more destruction of faith and humanity.
Line 81- Allusion: "Life is very long" is a quote from Joseph Conrad's
An Outcast of the Islands
, in which a damaged and despairing man is punished by being kept alive rather than by being killed, showing that we must suffer and repent for our sins
Attitude- The overall tone of this poem is a quite depressing one. Eliot frequently talks about death, blindness, and fear, giving the poem a feeling of absolute hopelessness and despair. Throughout, Eliot uses dark and foreboding imagery; "Paralysed force, gesture without motion;" "Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves;" "The supplication of a dead man’s hand." This poem does not rhyme, nor does it follow a strict pattern; it is almost random in its depression. The last lines in particular show futility, the pointless nature of existence, and instead everything ends "with a whimper," in solitude and despair.
Audience- The audience of this poem could be any educated person, but upon its publication, Eliot was specifically targeting people who were distraught by the new attitude of the world brought on by World War I
Speaker- The speaker of this poem is one of the Hollow Men that the poem describes, and he speaks in first person.
Shifts- The tone of this piece changes between each of the five sections. The first section is mostly descriptive with a sense of the futility of life since the Hollow Men are filled with nonsensical thoughts. The second section has a mostly fearful tone since the Hollow Men do not want to die and do not want God to see their true selves. The third section has a tone of concern while the Hollow Men wonder what the afterlife will be like. The fourth section is quite depressing and anxious as the Hollow Men wait for their judgement from God. The fifth section is the most depressing as it signals the end of the world.
Theme- Humankind will destroy itself because of its lack of faith, absense of bravery, and constantly pointless endeavors.
Title- Upon fully analyzing this poem, it seems as though the title simply describes the main subject of the poem itself- a group of men who are empty and void to the core. However, the title could also be an allusion to Shakespeare's play
which describes a group of men who are "blinded" by the cause to kill Caesar, much like the blinded men of the poem.
Title- Looking at the title for the first time, it seems that the poem is describing a hippopotamus.
Paraphrase- The hippopotamus lies in the mud, appearing to be strong and mighty, but can easily be killed since it is a a living thing. The hippo, therefore, is unlike the Church since the Church can never die and is sturdy. The hippo can die while trying to satisfy its wants, but the Church doesn't have to do anything to gain money. The hippo cannot get food that is far away from it, but the Church is sent food that is far away. The hippo cannot convince a female to mate with him, but the Church can convince people from around the world that it is powerful. The hippo has to choose when he rests and when he hunts for food, but the Church can relax and do nothing while it becomes more powerful. The hippo, however, then transformed, taking flight and being met by angels who sing prayers for him. He is washed away of his sins by Jesus Christ and becomes a perfect saint. And while he transforms, the Church remains and has a dangerous influence on the world.
Line 2- "Rests on his belly in the mud" could connotatively refer to baptism
Line 8- the "rock" Eliot refers to is an religious allusion to Matthew 16:18 where Matthew declares that he will build his church upon a rock
Line 29- "Blood of the Lamb" is a religious allusion to the rituals that cleanse a person of their sins
Line 33- simile "white as snow" meani that the hippo is free from sin
Repetition- "True Church" is repeate throughout the poem, showing it's significance and power in everyone's lives
Religion- In general, there are many references to religion and Christianity.
Metaphor- the hippopotamus is a metaphor for humankind, acting as a contrast to the incredibly powerful church. The hippo is weak, sinful, and dirty, much like the common man.
Rhyme Scheme- The rhyming of this poem goes ABAB/ CDCD/ etc. This gives the poem a nice rhythm and singsong that enhances the playful irony.
Form- The poem is a series of 9 quartets in which elps to separate the meaning of every set of 4 lines.
Attitude- Overall, the tone of this poem is very ironic, mocking the both corrupt church who has totaly control and enjoys everything on a silver platter, and the average man who is always suceptable to human tendancies.
Audience- The audience of this poem could be anyone.
Speaker- The speaker of this poem is completely annonymous, speaking in the third person.
Shifts- The poem retains its ironic tone throughout the entire poem, but the reader can see a slight tonal shift at line 25. At this point, the poet begins to speak about angels and the cleansing of sins, giving the poem a slightly whimsical and divine feeling.
Theme- Through this poem, Eliot asserts that organized religion has become exponentially powerful, making it a corrupt entity that controls the weak humans. However, belief in God can save anyone from this evil.
Title- Looking back, the title of this poem is a metaphor for human kind and, as stated before, makes a contrast with the powerful church.
Mistah Kurtz—he dead.
A penny for the Old Guy
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom
This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
Title- Similar to many of Eliot's other poems, it seems as though the title simply gives a simpledescription of the work itself. In this case, the title shows that the poem describes an Aunt named Helen.
Paraphrase- Helen Silsby was my unmarried aunt who lived in a small house that was close to an affuent area. My aunt had 4 servants. My aunt died, but many people respected and mourned her death by closing their shutters. The undertaker even wiped his feet to respect her house, but he had seen many deaths since they happened so frequently. My aunt's dogs were taken care of after her death, but no one cared for the parrot and it died. Time continued to pass in her lavish house after her death, and her servants did quite unruly things in her house, lacking respect that they had before.
Rhyme Scheme- abcdeeccfghij: this haphazard rhyming shows the confusion that grief brings after death.
Form- Also very disorganized without true direction.
Lines 4-5- Diction: silence refers to the mourning that occurs after the aunt's death.
Line 4- Hyerbole: "Silence in heaven" Aunt Helen was so respected that even the angels in heaven mourned her death.
Line 6- Imagery: "The shutters were drawn and the undertaker wiped his feet" shows the repsect that people had for Aunt Helen and how they mourned her death.
Line 7- Euphemism: "He was aware that this sort of thing had occurred before." is used to politely say that the undertaker saw many deaths (such as Aunt Helen's) since they happen so frequently. This line also shows the beginning of the speaker's realization that hs aunt's death is not very important.
Line 10- Imagery: "Dresden clock" shows the Aunt's previously lavish lifestyle .
Line 10- "The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantelpiece" signifies the passage of time even after the death.
Attitude- The main tone of this poem is quite sad, yet matter of fact. The speaker is very straightforward when describing his aunt, but her death and its meaninglessness is quite depressing thoughout the poem.
Audience- The audience of this poem is nonspecific.
Speaker- The speaker of this poem is the niece or nephew of Aunt Helen who is eulogizing her after her death. The poem is theoretially in 1st person, but does is mostly just descriptive.
Shifts- The poem starts with a very matter of fact tone, simply describing Aunt Helen's basic life. The poem shifts in tone at line 4, where the speaker abruptly declares that his aunt is dead. While the tone still has a matter of fact feeling, there is a strong element of mourning. The poem shifts again st line 7, where the tone turns to a sense of dejection once it becomes more clear that the speaker believes that life is meaningless.
Theme- Even if one has respect, one's life is quite meaningless, irrelavant, and pointless after death.
Comparison to Literature- "Aunt Helen" has a similar theme to the poem "Out, Out–" by Robert Frost, in which life is shown to be pointless and death has little meaning.
Title- The title does not change meaning for me at the end of this poem.
Title- Again, the title of the poem seems to be describing the main action of the poem. In this case, the speaker could possibly be looking out a window, and the setting takes place in the morning. "Morning at the Window" seems to have a positive connotation, and brings up the image of a nice morning drinking tea and eat breakfast while staring out the window.
Paraphrase- I can hear people making sounds with their breakfast plates in kitchens which are in basements. I can see deeply sad housemaids walking along the street. Looking further, I see brown fog and man depressed people all over. A woman walking along has a tear in her eye. Another person comes along and tries to smile, but fails, and this smile seems to drift away.
Rhyme Scheme- This poem uses free verse
Form- The poem is made up of a quartet and a cinquain.
Title- Symbol: The "window" could potentially be a symbol for the invisible border that separates the lower class from the upper class.
Line 1- Diction: The speaker refers to the people he sees simply as "they," enhacing their lack of identity and purpose.
Line 1- Auditory Imagery: "rattling breakfast plates" evokes a harsh sound in the reader's mind.
Line 3-4- Personification/Metaphor: "the damp souls of housemaids /Sprouting despondently at area gates." gives the image that these housemaids are like weeds, contributing to the image of their despondent and rejected nature.
Line 5- Color Imagery: The color brown gives the image of a dirty place.
Line 5- Imagery: "brown fog" creates a scene in which it can be inferred that there is a lot of pollution, which makes the people's standard of living even worse.
Line 8- Symbol: "smile" is a symbol for joy, but this joy has no effect on the depressed people.
Lines 8-9- Diction: words such as "hovers" and "vanishes" add to the tone by giving the poem a ghostly and deathly feel.
Attitude- The tone of this poem is quite depressed and sympathetic. Words such as "damp," "trampled," "depondently," and "aimless" help to convey an aura of dark sadness, which then creates sympathetic thoughts in the reader.
Audience- The audience is not specified and could be anyone.
Speaker- The speaker is an unidentified person who is watching the activities of poor people on the streets from a window, speaking in first person. More about the speaker is analyzed in the Title section.
Shifts- There do not seem to be any shifts in this poem. Overall, the poem is pretty consistently depressing, as stated above.
Theme- Everyday existance is incredibly dreary and lacks any hope or joy.
Title- The meaning of the title changed very much for me while reading the poem. The title actually seems to be a contradictiong to the rest of the poem, since the title seems cheery in a way and the poem itself its quite depressing and sad. The title itself also seems to give clues about the speaker. Since the speaker is looking out of a window instead of being in a basement like the poor people, the speaker seems to be wealthier than the people he/she describes.
Title- At first glance, this title appears quite comical. I exepct the poem to be lighthearted and humorous while possibly delving into the process of naming a pet cat.
Paraphrase- Naming cats can be quite complicated because, while you may think I'm crazy, a cat ust have 3 different names. One of the names has to be an everyday name that everyone can use. However, a cat also needs aname that makes him seem more honorable and is completely unique to him so he can keep up his staure. Lastly, a cat must have a name that no one can know about except the cat himself. Cats will often sit pondering this one name because it is so important to them.
Rhyme Scheme- ABAB: gives the poem a more lighthearted feel.
Form- The poemis one long stanza made up of 31 lines. The form does not givethe poem any specific direction, which just adds to the humor.
Extended Metaphor- The three names of cats do not actually concern names or cats at all, but instead refer to the the different personas that humans portray in differnt settings. The first name symbolizes the personality that humans adopt when they are around the general public, or the "sensible everyday names." The second name symbolises the personality we use when around family and friends, one that is completely unique to each individual. Lastly, the third name symbolizes humans' true personality, one that no one else but that person can see or understand.
Personification- Cats are given human like characteristics in order to help prove the theme with lines such as "When you notice a cat in profound meditation,/The reason, I tell you, is always the same:/His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation/Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:"
Line 3- Allusion/Simile: "mad as a hatter" is anallusion to Alice in Wonderland and is a phrase used to describe someone who is crazy.
Line 4,24- Capitalization: Eliot uses all capitals to identify the very important lines of the poem.
Line 11- Allusion: The speaker refers to potential names of cats that are actually the names of Greek goddesses, princesses, kings, and philosophers.
Lines 6,7,11,18,19- Anaphora: "such as" is repeated many times when lists are made by the speaker.
Lines 8,12- Repetition: "All of them sensible everyday names."
Line 28- Repetition: "of the thought"
Diction: Eliot uses long, funny sounding words that do not even make sense like "effanineffable" which contribute to the tone.
Attitude- The tone of this poem is quite humerous and playful. The speaker gives many silly names to the potential cats that he/she describes. The speaker is so passionate about naming cats, which is amusing and slightly whimsical. Additionally, the use of personification gives the poem an extra magical feeling.
Audience- The audience of this poem could be anyone, but it was meant to entertain Eliot's friends.
Speaker- The speaker of this poem is unidentified, but he/she speaks in 1st person, directly address the audience.
Shifts- The poem remains mainly humerous throughout the poem, but the speaker seems to get very enthusiastic when speaking about the third name by line 21. The line begins with "But" which signals this shift, and gives a more passionate feeling to the poem.
Theme- A person presents themselves differently when he/she is around the general public, when he/she is around family and friends, and when it is just his/herself and he/she is free to be his/herself.
Title- After reading, the title does not seem to be commenting on naming pets, but instead the naming process is actually referring to the personas that humans project in different settings, an extended metaphor that was detailed further in the Connotative Language section.
Title- The title of this poem is quite simple, and the poem probably discusses the Boston Evening Transcript, which seems to be a nightly newspaper.
Paraphrase- The people who read the Boston Evening Transcript are very easy to sway and control. When evening approaches, some people gain a new life, and others read the Boston Evening Transcript. I go up the steps of people's homes and ring their door bell, turning around, similarly to how someone would turn to say goodbye to François de La Rochefoucauld, the noted French author of maxims, signaling the end of time. Then I give the paper to my Cousin Harriet.
Rhyme Scheme- The poem uses free verse
Form- The poem consists of a couplet and a septet. The couplet sets up the main idea and the septet elaborates.
Line 2- Metaphor and Simile- "Sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn." shows that the readers of the Boston Evening Transcript are easily swayed or influenced by what they read and it is easy for the newspaper to harvest or collect the support of these people.
Line 3- Personification: "When evening quickens fainly in the street" gives a great image of the night fast approaching, even though the evening cannot "hurry up."
Line 7- Allusion: Francois de La Rochefoucauld was a French writer of the seventeenth century, known for his Thoughts or Aphorisms and Maxime Moral (1665). This reference define the type of person reads the Transcript as self-content and lifeless.
Diction: The word choice of this poem is very crisp and clear, and it can be said that Eliot used the technique of Imagism.
Attitude- The tone of this poem is quite derogatory towards the people who read the Boston Evening Transcript. By comparing the people who read the newspaper to other people who come alive at night, it is clear that the speaker is disgusted by the readers of the newspaper.
Audience- The audience of this poem could be any educated person.
Speaker- The speaker of this poem is a paper boy who delivers the Boston Transcript to people. The poem is in 1st person.
Shifts- While the poem retains a tone of disgust for the majority of the poem, the tone shifts at the last line when the speaker recognizes that while the Boston Evening Transcript has a negative effect on people's lives, that is just the way it will have to be. Therefore, the tone becomes much more accepting.
Theme- The world has made people very easy to manipulate, as well as lifeless and self-content. However, this negative environment cannot be changed.
Title- The title does not change meaning after analysis.
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Eliot, Thomas Stearns. Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909-1917. Ed.
Christopher Ricks Ricks. First Harvest 1998 ed. N.p.: Harcourt Brace &
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