54 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2015
    1. O victory forget your underwear we’re free

      Nakedness can be seen as being unrestrained and free, which is a notion similar to Walt Whitman. Underwear or clothing to the narrator is what society does to contain and conceal the individual. Nakedness allows one to be finally unmasked.

    2. who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom

      The individuals are living in poverty and grim circumstances and are forced to eat the decomposing meat, in which people would usually throw away. The meat can be seen as tainted waste just like the individuals (best minds) being at the bottom of society with their madness and insanity. They dream of the pure vegetable kingdom, which can be interpreted as dreaming of sanity and sterility.

    3. who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons

      The man crying and trembling naked can be interpreted as mad, raw, and natural. The "machinery of other skeletons" can be regarded as the sane individuals, but they are "machinery," which can be interpreted as cooked and manufactured, which is unnatural. Skeletons can also be seen as being stripped and bare of emotions and character. The insane man is considered the other in America's conforming cooked society.

    4. where we hug and kiss the United States under our bedsheets the United States that coughs all night and won’t let us sleep

      The narrator and Solomon may have a difficult relationship with the United States. They hug and kiss the country, but the country reciprocates by coughing through the night and not letting Solomon or the narrator sleep. Despite the country treating their citizens horribly, the citizens praise their homeland anyway.

    5. who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for an Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next decade

      They want to escape time by throwing their watches off the roof, but time is inescapable. Instead they are constantly reminded (and punished?) that they cannot escape time when alarm clocks fall on their heads. Alarm clocks will go off and obnoxiously make noise until one finally acknowledges it is time to get up, or in this case, that time is unavoidable.

  2. Nov 2015
    1. The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.

      The river referred to is the Thames River in London. During the Industrial Revolution (1760-1820) when factories and mass production were on the rise in Europe, the urbanization and industrialization of the society caused sewage and waste to spill into the Thames River. Eliot mentions this pollution: “The river sweats / Oil and tar” (266-267). Sea creatures were thriving in the river, but by late 1850s the creatures disappeared. What was once a natural habitat for these animals became a contaminated waste.

      Image Description

      The river’s shelter can be interpreted as a tree hovering over the river and protecting it. The shelter is now destroyed and has fallen and collapsed into its inhabitant causing the leaves to fall into the river. The river is displaced. The images of fallen leaves and brown land suggest a dull and ruined civilization. The brown land could be referencing a polluted land. The river bears “empty bottles, sandwich papers, Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends” (177-178). The material items brought by modern civilization have caused the destruction of the once clean and pure river. The civilization has become a wasteland. This vision of the unreal city is filthy resulting in the deterioration of modern civilization.

      Image Description

      Nymphs are spirits of nature. This land that was once was considered a thriving and flourishing civilization filled with nature is diminished, causing the nymphs to leave. This introduces the concept of anti-progress. At a time when industrialization and technology is advancing, society is deteriorating. This land is no longer of nature. The nymphs have left because the land is of un-nature occupied by material waste caused by civilization. The brown land is deserted and deteriorated. This land is now in ruins. The brown land has become a ghost town.

      As modern civilization progresses, society continues to shatter, which will eventually lead to the civilization's downfall. Another instance of this occurrence is in the "Falling towers Jerusalem Athens Alexandria / Vienna London / Unreal"(373-376). This represents the destruction of civilization as a consequence of the advancement of modern civilization. The falling towers of the ancient and modern cities is the aftermath of the continuous ruin of civilizations. Anti-progress in modern civilization is so disastrous and devastating that it terminates civilization as a whole. Image Description

  3. Oct 2015
    1. An’ he says—“Dis makes Me think of home— Vicksburg, Little Rock, Jackson, Waco and Rome.”

      Slim Greer can be considered naive when he notices that hell reminds him of home, but cannot comprehend that his home on earth is hell. Vicksburg, Little Rock, Jackson, Waco and Rome are locations where racial tensions, riots, and/or lynchings have occurred.

    2. One thing they cannot prohibit — The strong men . . . coming on The strong men gittin’ stronger. Strong men. . . . Stronger. . . .

      This reminds me of Langston Hughes' "I, Too, Sing America". In Hughes' poem, the speaker is continuously oppressed, but has faith that he is an American and that we will prevail when he finally sits at the table. The speaker in Brown's poem points out that Black people are continuously oppressed throughout history from slavery to Jim Crow, but they will get stronger and stronger and move forward as generations pass.

    3. Keep us strong. . . .

      I saw a correlation between this line to Langston Hughes' "The Weary Blues" when the speaker says, "While the Weary Blues echoed through his head. He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead". Music is a means of survival for the musician to allow him to continue living in his hard life. For the concert goers in this poem, Ma Rainey's music keeps the listeners or fans fighting in their tough life. Music allows the musician and listeners to continue on living.

    1. What happens to a dream deferred?

      The narrator may be referring to the American Dream and the postpoment for African Americans to achieve their dreams due to unequal laws in the United States, such as Jim Crow.

    2. While the Weary Blues echoed through his head. He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.

      The musician playing his weary blues may be what's helping him get through his day or life. The weary blues is able to give him relief and solace. It is a way for him to release his emotions of sadness. By doing so, he is able to sleep peacefully at night.

    3. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

      The narrator is referencing the negro throughout history and indicates that he is deeply rooted in the history of civilization. His soul has been profoundly immersed in different portions of civilizations and societies.

    1. “My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart Under my feet. After the event He wept. He promised ‘a new start.’ I made no comment. What should I resent?”

      Moorgate was a postern in the London Wall that was initially built by the Romans and was turned into a gate in the 15th century. Moorgate was torn down in 1762, but the name remains as a major street in London today. The name Moorgate is taken from Moorsfield, which was the last open field of the city. The district of Moorgate is presently a financial sector that contains an underground train station.

      Image Description

      The speaker may be Queen Elizabeth I accompanied by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, a married man, were rumored to have been in an intimate romantic relationship with one another. They are standing at what may be the ruins of Moorgate after its demolition. Dudley promises a “new start”. She makes no comment and asks herself, “What should I resent?” The queen cannot be bitter towards him or their situation because she understands that there are no such things as new starts in this civilization.

      Image Description

      Although Moorgate was once a postern that became an urban metropolitan consisting of an underground train station, there is no such thing as progress and a new start. Modern civilization is degenerating. Madame Sosostris’s card “the Wheel” (51) is a figure of this unachievable new start and progress. This wheel is civilization repeatedly coming full circle and never being able to change or progress. Eliot suggests that whether it's a new start in Queen Elizabeth’s relationship with Dudley or civilization as a whole, there is no such thing as a new start in this modern world.

    1. Why do you write about black people? You aren’t black.

      Langston Hughes was of mixed race descent. He recognizes himself as black, but he isn't accepted as black by the black community. This relates to W.E.B. Du Bois' "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" and his concept of the double consciousness. He perceives himself as a black, but the black community surrounding him sees him as the other (or white).

  4. teaching.lfhanley.net teaching.lfhanley.net
    1. The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.

      The images of fallen leaves and brown land suggest a dull and miserable civilization. The brown land could possibly be referencing a dry and possibly polluted land. Nymphs are spirits of nature. The nymphs are absent from this land, which may be because the land is no longer a flourishing and thriving civilization. This land is no longer of nature. The nymphs have left because the land is of un-nature. The brown land has become a ghost town.

    2. London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down
    3. limp leaves
    4. stumbling in cracked earth
    5. What is the city over the mountains Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air Falling towers
    6. Trams and dusty trees.
    7. Sweat is dry

      Sweat can become dried on one's skin, but it is not dry to begin with.

    8. The river sweats                Oil and tar
    9. brings the sailor home from sea
    10. the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank

      Is it autumn when leaves fall off trees?

    11. I was neither Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,

      What are you if you are neither living nor dead? Are you a zombie?

    12. Tell her I bring the horoscope myself: One must be so careful these days.

      Why must one be so careful these days? Are they to be careful of their future or possible death?

    13. In the mountains, there you feel free.

      What about the mountains makes you feel free? Is it nature that sets you free? Is it the seclusion you get from being in the mountains that makes you feel free?

    1. Melancholy do lip sing.

      Does this line suggest that someone who is melancholic is unable to be vocal and instead becomes silent as a means to express herself? This poem can be interpreted as melancholic through the use of the period in almost every sentence. The use of the period and the fragmented lines create a sense of dullness and tonelessness that can be perceived as melancholic.

    2. In my hand. In my hand right. In my hand writing. Put something down some day in my hand writing.

      The narrator's thoughts are broken down in bits and pieces. The reader gets a glimpse of her thought process from this small thought "In my hand" to a more complete thought, "Put something down some day in my hand writing". The reader experiences her thoughts gently and gradually.

    3. Do you mind. Lizzie do you mind. Ethel. Ethel. Ethel.

      It could be interpreted that the narrator may be speaking to her children. She says "Do you mind" twice as if she is speaking to her child to do something for her. The repetition of "Ethel" may be the speaker trying to get her child's attention by repeatedly calling out her name until she answers.

  5. Sep 2015
    1. expressing with broken brain the truth about us—

      Why would Elsie's broken brain express the truth about us? What is this truth she reveals?

    2. No one to witness and adjust, no one to drive the car

      The narrator may be implicating that society is so caught up in their narcissistic and materialistic habits that no one can direct themselves in the right direction.

    3. under some hedge of choke-cherry or viburnum- which they cannot express—

      The narrator may be indicating that the women are out of touch with their natural surroundings because they are engulfed in their desires for "gauds".

    1. Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

      Is the narrator saying that paths lead onto other paths? Is the road he has taken not worth taking again? Or is he talking about the other road that he has not taken yet? Maybe he wants to explore other roads as well?

    2. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by

      What is with the repetition of "I"?

    3. Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,

      Is the narrator saying that the two roads are no different from one another?

    4. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.

      Is the narrator and horse alone in the woods? It seems quiet and calm in the woods.

    5. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep,

      Does he want to stay in the woods for awhile longer because he is fond of the woods? Are the promises he's keeping forbidding him from staying in the woods?

    6. Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though;

      Why would the possessor of the woods have a home in the village? Why doesn't the landowner live in the woods? Isn't the village considered a close-minded community? Why not live in the woods where you're possibly more free?

    1. Ballades by the score with the same old thought:

      The narrator is repeating his ideas in his poems. He is lacking material and inspiration. This may be connected to the title "Petit, the Poet". Petit can be referred to smallness and irrelevance. The poet can be irrelevant and small in the realms of poetry because he lacks inspiration.

    2. All in the loom, and oh what patterns!

      All the emotions are contained in this darkness. This loom of emotions may be considered cynical feelings. The patterns the narrator is speaking of may be referring to the different emotions being felt at different times.

    3. Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick, Tick, tick, tick, what little iambics, While Homer and Whitman roared in the pines?

      The narrator may be comparing his poems to Homer and Whitman's. The narrator's poems contain little iambics that make ticking sounds, while Homer and Whitman's poems create this great howling sound. The narrator may construe that his poems are inadequate compared to Homer and Whitman. The seeds in a dry pod may also be pertaining to the narrator and his work. The seeds are small like the poet, while Homer and Whitman's are long pines. The dryness of the pod may refer to the narrator's bland and unsuccessful work.

    1. I quite enjoy the room, now it is bare again.

      The room being bare may concern the narrator's mental health. Now that she has ripped off the wallpaper, she has a clear and decluttered mind. She is no longer held captive.

    2. But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there; and I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I was crying before I had finished.

      John continuously disregards his wife's feelings and requests. He believes he knows what's best for his wife physically and mentally. He considers her as decrepit and insecure, which may be making the narrator's condition worse when she believes that she is incapable of doing certain things because her husband is enforcing the idea that she is weak and feeble.

    3. “What is it, little girl?” he said. “Don’t go walking about like that—you’ll get cold.”

      John calls her wife (I'm assuming is a grown woman) a little girl. He refers to her as a small child and speaks as if she is delicate and frail. John treats her wife as if she is irresponsible and unable to think for herself.

    1. Through history, the powers of single black men flash here and there like falling stars, and die sometimes before the world has rightly gauged their brightness.

      The oppression of black men has prohibited them from achieving their full potential despite exposing themselves as worthy. This suppression forbids them from achieving success.

    2. to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture

      Du Bois is considered the other in society and is restricted from partaking in American culture because he is a black man in a white society. He aims towards being included in the American culture. The word co-worker possibly indicates that he is willing to associate with white people to be in partnership of their culture. The word kingdom suggests the significance and power of being in the culture.

    1. out of stumps

      A stump is a part of a tree trunk left on the ground that has fallen or been chopped off. I perceived the stump as the oppressed being torn down and abused. The stump being on the ground can be seen as those in poverty being at the lowest point.

    1. it was the most expressive

      Can it (the dynamo) symbolically be referring to the Cross or technology? They can both be considered expressive in regards to being powerful?

    2. Neither of them felt goddesses as power–only as reflected emotion, human expression, beauty, purity, taste, scarcely even as sympathy. They felt a railway train as power,

      Goddesses were seen as a force and power due to their ability to reproduce in past history. Modern society has now recognized that technology is the only source or the greater source of power.

  6. Aug 2015
    1. Langley, with the ease of a great master of experiment, threw out of the field every exhibit that did not reveal a new application of force, and naturally threw out, to begin with, almost the whole art exhibit.

      Langley is convinced that force or science is more significant than the arts. He also brings forth the idea that art cannot be interchangeable or unified with the advancement of science.

    1. The last stanza “From my car passing under the stars” differentiates from the “gutted cars” in the third stanza. The narrator’s car running and functioning can refer to his class and his privilege while the “gutted car” can refer to poverty and the oppressed having to stay in their position. The “gutted car” contains missing parts. These missing parts concern the oppressed because they are being suppressed and dehumanized and cannot fully function with rights seized by their oppressor.