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Mr. Flood's Party
Transcript of Mr. Flood's Party
Wealthy, Harvard, began path to be a successful writer
Parents and big brother passed, lost wealth, and had to drop out of Harvard
Grew up in a place named "Tillbury Town"
Location of many of his poems
This poem is about an elderly man named "Mr. Flood" who has lost all of his friends and family due to age. He has turned to alcohol for company and starts reminiscing on his old life and memories throughout the poem. He carries on conversations with himself, because he is his only friend.
The attitude is depressing because the main character has no one left in his life, but also lighthearted in the fact that the old man attempts to relive his old life and memories. The author makes connections to his real life and the life of Mr. Flood; Robinson had lost a lot of what he loved in his life.
Mr. Flood's Party
Edwin Arlington Robinson
Pulitzer Prize Worthy
The Man Who Died Twice: 1925
Mr. Flood's Party
Looking at the title before any knowledge of the poem, one might think it's about a man of higher class that is having a gathering of people over to his house for a party.
"mr. flood's party"
"Then, as a mother lays her sleeping child down tenderly, fearing it may awake, he set the jug down slowly at his feet" (Robinson 25-27)
He compares his liquor to a sleeping child; this shows that Mr. Flood has no one else but a non-living substance to take care of.
"Secure, with only two moons listening" (Robinson 57)
"He stood there in the middle of the road like Roland's ghost winding a silent horn"
Roland was an ancient soldier under Charlemagne who had too pride to call for help in battle and ended up killing all of his soldiers and himself.
Old Eben Flood, climbing alone one night
Over the hill between the town below
And the forsaken upland hermitage
That held as much as he should ever know
On earth again of home, paused warily.
The road was his with not a native near;
And Eben, having leisure, said aloud,
For no man else in Tilbury Town to hear:
"Well, Mr. Flood, we have the harvest moon
Again, and we may not have many more;
The bird is on the wing, the poet says,
And you and I have said it here before.
Drink to the bird." He raised up to the light
The jug that he had gone so far to fill,
And answered huskily: "Well, Mr. Flood,
Since you propose it, I believe I will."
Alone, as if enduring to the end
A valiant armor of scarred hopes outworn,
He stood there in the middle of the road
Like Roland's ghost winding a silent horn.
Below him, in the town among the trees,
Where friends of other days had honored him,
A phantom salutation of the dead
Rang thinly till old Eben's eyes were dim.
Then, as a mother lays her sleeping child
Down tenderly, fearing it may awake,
He set the jug down slowly at his feet
With trembling care, knowing that most things break;
And only when assured that on firm earth
It stood, as the uncertain lives of men
Assuredly did not, he paced away,
And with his hand extended paused again:
"Well, Mr. Flood, we have not met like this
In a long time; and many a change has come
To both of us, I fear, since last it was
We had a drop together. Welcome home!"
Convivially returning with himself,
Again he raised the jug up to the light;
And with an acquiescent quaver said:
"Well, Mr. Flood, if you insist, I might.
"Only a very little, Mr. Flood—
For auld lang syne. No more, sir; that will do."
So, for the time, apparently it did,
And Eben evidently thought so too;
For soon amid the silver loneliness
Of night he lifted up his voice and sang,
Secure, with only two moons listening,
Until the whole harmonious landscape rang—
"For auld lang syne." The weary throat gave out,
The last word wavered; and the song being done,
He raised again the jug regretfully
And shook his head, and was again alone.
There was not much that was ahead of him,
And there was nothing in the town below—
Where strangers would have shut the many doors
That many friends had opened long ago.
"There was not much that was ahead of him, and there is nothing in the town below" (Robinson 53-54)
Previous to this line, the poem was lighthearted and described the mains lonely life.
After this line, the tone becomes depressing because the audience realizes that this is a reality of the man, and even people in real life. There is nothing to use of Mr. Flood in his current life, and nothing was going to get better in the future.
After the poem is over, the audience realizes the title was quite ironic. Mr. Flood was just an average man who did not know anyone to even have a party. It becomes obvious though, that Mr. Flood is actually having a party with his old self in the past.
In "Mr. Flood's Party" by Edwin Arlington Robinson, the author shows that with age, loneliness is inevitable because of the loss of friends and family.
Edwin Arlington Robinson
At this point in the poem Mr. Flood is drunk and thinks the moon has duplicated and is also listening to his conversations, but the moon does not have the capability to listen.
In his early career, Edwin Arlington Robinson, could not find a job that would pay well for writing so he worked as a subway inspector. He still continued to write and his career took off when President Roosevelt wrote a column in the newspaper complimenting his works. Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for his book
and in 1925 for
The Man Who Died Twice
All of Robinson's poems have shown the struggles and reality of Americans in the 1920's. They describe real life situations and describe how truely hard it was to live the "American Dream", which every American in the 1920s wanted to do.
Davis, Anne E. Edwin Arlington Robinson. Gardiner Public Library, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.
Ebbutt, M I. The British (Myths and Legends). N.p.: n.p., 1986. 120. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.
Robinson, Edwin A. The Man Who Died Twice. N.p.: Macmillan Company, 1924. N. pag. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.
Robinson, Edwin A. "Mr. Flood's Party ." Narr. Paul Tavern. 2013. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.
Sowersby, Kris. poets.org. Ed. Christian Schwartz. Project Projects, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.
"Summary" Masterpieces of American Literature Ed. Steven G. Kellman. eNotes.com, Inc. 2006 eNotes.com 9 Dec, 2014