62 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2016
  2. teaching.lfhanley.net teaching.lfhanley.net
    1. The river sweats                Oil and tar

      Nature defiled by the unreal city

    2. the violet hour

      The violet hour or l'heure bleue is that time between dusk and twilight. The day's magical end. A time for assignations.


    3. April is the cruellest month

      Anthropomorphizing April is traditional trope : April showers bring May flowers; March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb, June is busting out all over. April cannot be cruel, nor can it breed, mix memory and desire, or stir roots and rain. April is symbolic the rebirth promised eternally by spring; it isn't cruel at all. Antithetically, April is a busy provider.


    4. Philomel, by the barbarous king So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale

      In myth Philomel was raped by her brother-in-law. She was turned into the nightingale. But only the males sing.


    5. He passed the stages of his age and youth

      The drowned Phlebas saw eternity in the sea.


    6. If there were water we should stop and drink Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think

      Couplet to complete the first riddle of rock and water. It's like time and money, you usually have one but not both at the same time.


    7. A woman drew her long black hair out tight And fiddled whisper music on those strings

      He is somewhat fixated on hair (see part 2). Here the hair is a musical instrument. I love the imagery.


    8. hyacinths

      Hyacinths feed into the death motif inasmuch as they are short-lived flowers. They rise from bulbs, making them self-sufficient, perhaps hyacinth girl is also. self-sufficient. Later Eliot invokes "the violet hour," I picture this flower in pink or violet. Maybe a reach.


    9. London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

      The children's song, an early memory and a wistful reference to lost youth.


    10. maternal lamentation


      To imagine maternal anything is to conjure up the memory of one's own mother.

    11. Dead
    1. Humming

      Is this the hum of the masses, the throng she is trying to elbow her way through? Or is humming foolishness?

    2. Marble

      Marble is the medium for headstones.

    3. Pearls.

      Repeated from earlier, as are slippers, papers. There's a cycle, birth to death—or end of an episode.

    4. hurry

      Perhaps meant to rhyme with bury. One of many buried, hurried "couplets" in this poem. (Others: Lily, Willie; size, surprise).

    5. Ink of paper slightly mine breathes a shoulder able shine.

      Don't even care what this might mean, the tumbling imagery of paper (much finer in the 20s), a bare shoulder, breath on glowing skin is like a dream.

    6. So great so great Emily.

      Is Emily the housemaid who hears bits of conversations through a swinging kitchen door?

    7. Never the less.

      Here this phrase seems so literal, not a stand in for "anyway." Never the less. Always the greater.

    8. How do you do I

      There's a matrimonial—or domestic— dialogue knit into this poem. Here's the "I do" again, backward. References throughout to place settings, canning, pressing, thimbles, table linen...

    1. familiarity

      "Familiarity" is the fulcrum of this poem/statement. Torment and hatred in balance with friendship and advice. A parable for the presidential campaign of 2016,

    2. which

      Interesting to me that the author would use "that" and "which" to modify "plums." For variety? The replacement of "which" with "that" seems like a fairly recent evolution of language usage. He uses "and" just to have another syllable. The line break could have implied a comma.

    1. Petals on a wet, black bough

      This metaphor makes me think of the stark pinkness of human flesh rising above the black asphalt or concrete of the station concourse.

    2. In a Station of the Metro

      Dans une gare du Métro. We would more likely write "In a Metro station" in English.

  3. Sep 2016
    1. iron cortex

      Where foul wins out over fair, and course beats the refined, it is necessary to cultivate a tough (not rough) side, a spine.

    2. does the rose regret The day she did her armour on?

      The rose's thorns make her less approachable, less likely to be petted by a tending hand.

    3. The sikly, powdery mignonette

      Sikly, as in sickly?, or silky? In any case, a mignonette is a sauce, a lovely vinaigrette with shallots prepared as a condiment for oysters. Is it the dew collected in the blossoms of the delphinium?

    4. I do not think I would.

      The antithesis of her first line: Love is not all. But it is of such value, she wouldn't trade it for peace or essential nourishment.

    1. nobody can call you crone

      They say Bill Gates is much taller when he stands on his wallet. To be rich is to be deaf to criticism.

    2. die in state

      If you can't manage to die young and leave a beautiful corpse, decide to live long, serve well, and be revered in death.

    3. His house

      Would Frost make a religious reference? It is possible to read this as a reference to a diety, whose church is in the village.

    4. sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.

      'Sweep of easy' those nice long Es and sibilant Ss. This description makes the snow seem soft and inviting like a feather bed.

    1. Degenerate

      The poet's protagonist is calling the generation(s) after hers a pack of pussies! She sees them as physically, intellectually, and morally inferior to those of her ilk who not only bore 12 children, but managed a teeming household, it's garden, it's kitchen, and it's infirmary. Imagine 70 years of marriage: I'm perfectly happy as a dilettante.

    1. sang

      Auld Lang Syne, the Robert Burns lyric set to a traditional Scottish tune, was published in 1799. The title/chorus translates roughly to "for old time's sake" and acknowledges "a cup of kindness" raised to those friends and loved ones who have gone before. Here the protagonist is toasting his homecoming to an isolated refuge above a town where he is no longer welcome.

    2. blood

      More than youth, "blood" indicates vigorous good health and pigmented skin (that fades and dulls with age).

    1. a three months’ rental

      The clock is ticking on the narrator's madness. As the story progresses and they get down to three weeks, two weeks, a day, you feel the spiral shorten.

    2. It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls. The paint and paper look as if a boys’ school had used it. It is stripped off—the paper—in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach, and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I never saw a worse paper in my life.

      So clearly a prison or asylum cell on first read: the bars, the rings against the walls, the wallpaper scratched off to the height of an adult against the wall above the bed. Foreshadowing: At this point we don't quite know her story.

    1. blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer

      A metaphor for rage: boiling blood. At best he wishes to maintain his anger at a simmer, which is just a degree below boiling.

    2. gifted with second-sight in this American world,—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but 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, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body,

      This description of a feeling of otherness is underscored by the yin and yang of twos - "second-sight," double-consciousness," "twoness," "two souls," "two thoughts," "two unreconciled strivings," "two warring ideals."

  4. Aug 2016
    1. moral force

      Boys and their toys: the essay considers technology virtuous (as in prodigious and moral), supernaturally powerful, sensual. mysterious (with movements imperceptible to Adams' senses), religiously significant...

    2. his historical neck broken by the sudden irruption of forces totally new


      Thinking about the overworked term "disruption" that is used to describe business technology today.

    3. mixed himself up in the tangle of ideas until he achieved a sort of Paradise of ignorance

      There's this persistent orgiastic quality to the enthusiasm for this technology which is disproportionate to Adams' comprehension of the science or engineering.

    4. the dynamo became a symbol of infinity

      The dynamo was not just a perpetual producer of energy, but one of the first of an unending line of technologies. The precursors to Moore's Law.

    5. a nightmare at a hundred kilometres an hour, almost as destructive as the electric tram which was only ten years older; and threatening to become as terrible as the locomotive steam-engine itself

      "...nightmare... as destructive as... threatening to become as terrible..." exaggerations, comparing technology almost to natural disasters.

    6. Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.

      Just. Love. This.

    7. Langley

      Samuel Pierpont Langley, inventor, aviation pioneer. Harvard College grad. Egghead.

    1. They feed they Lion and he comes.

      The "feed" is a reinforcement of pride, resolve (lion). The lion's coming is the fruition of what? Acceptance, resistance,

    2. The grained arm

      Muscled, grained like wood.

    3. the thorax of caves

      The hollow in a cave? Or the hollowed out cave-like thorax of the pig?

    4. sweet glues of the trotters

      What is he telling us about the pig/trotter? That every last scrap of meat and flesh is used?

    5. from the reeds of shovels

      I picture workers' shovels lined up against a wall or pitched into the dirt looking like a bank of reeds.

    6. buried aunties, Mothers hardening like pounded stumps

      I picture women in a petrified state, literally or spiritually dead.

    7. all my white sins forgiven

      "white sins" minor transgressions? or sins of white men?

    8. my five arms and all my hands

      A family? A farm team?

    9. Out of the bones’ need to sharpen and the muscles’ to stretch

      Maybe synecdoche; the bones and muscles represent people who need to be in shape, ready for action.

    10. West Virginia to Kiss My Ass

      A poor homeland, West Virginia is bad enough, but "Kiss My Ass" is worse.

    11. They Lion grow.

      Vernacular use of "they" for "their." Lion is a metaphor for inner rage, inner strength, pride, courage.

    12. Out of

      Ten "out of" phrases creates a nice anaphora, gives the poem a sense of urgency and momentum with repetition.

    13. creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies,

      With bearing butter, acids, and tar, the dark, oily, sometimes gritty texture of the assembly line or other manufacturing work.

    14. From “Bow Down” come “Rise Up,”

      Are these references to spiritual hymns? Antithesis: prostrate to upright.

    15. the reeds of shovels

      So many shovels they make a "forest", like a clump of reeds along a riverbank.

    16. the bones’ need to sharpen and the muscles’ to stretch

      Describes yearning for change, for useful, productive change.

    17. Earth is eating trees, fence posts, Gutted cars, earth is calling in her little ones

      Decay, decomposition of the landscape and neglected objects.