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Comments by Commenter

  • arappa

    • Comment on Epigraph on September 20th, 2012

      And don’t forget here is also the first of many classical allusions that no one understands. I mean really, who besides classics students have really read the Satyricon?

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 20th, 2012

      This one of my favorite lines in all of poetry. I love the way Eliot here is flipping the common idea of the beginning of spring being something light and bright at the end of winter.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 20th, 2012

      In line with my previous comment I also appreciate the way Eliot is contradicting the thing everyone “knows” about winter, that it is cold. The idea that winter could be “warm” in any way seems so completely wrong yet somehow it makes sense in the context of the poem.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 20th, 2012

      This may be the most accessible allusion in the entire poem. And it still depends on the reader having read Shakespeare’s The Tempest (not on of his more well known plays). Perhaps this reference would have made more sense to a contemporary audience but a modern audience is unlikely to pick it up immediately. (Though perhaps a modern audience for this poem consists only of literature students which makes comprehension more likely.)

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on October 5th, 2012

      This line has always seemed strange to me. While I know fire does burn colors other than red, orange, and yellow it just never sits quite right with me that he describes the fire as burning green. It feels unnatural.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on October 5th, 2012

      And once more we are given a reference that’s hard to understand without classical training. I mean really, how many people have read Ovid?

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on October 5th, 2012

      Even though this terminology really reads as nonsense the reader can almost get a sense of what Eliot means here (for once). You get that sense of dullness from the language even though the language itself seems to mean absolutely nothing.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on October 5th, 2012

      Is he asking if you (you, the reader?) remembers nothing as in not remembering something that happened? Or is he asking if you remember Nothing as though Nothing is a thing to be remembered? (I don’t know the answer. But it’s something interesting to ponder.)

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on October 5th, 2012

      One gets the sense of monotony from his words. As though this is all anyone can expect from life day after day. Our lives are planned out and there is nothing to do but live them as we have always lived them, changing nothing.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on October 5th, 2012

      This line is repeated over and over and with each repetition the reader begins to feel the urgency of the people in the poem. With each reading of “HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME” you feel spurred on to read faster.

    • Comment on III. THE FIRE SERMON on October 5th, 2012

      These are the dross and flotsam of those with privilege. It is as though we are watching privilege disappear.

    • Comment on III. THE FIRE SERMON on October 5th, 2012

      Here again are the nonsense words that sound like bird calls. Dull and slow birds.

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  • jginsberg

  • lbanks

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 17th, 2012

      April is the close to the opening of spring. It brings life and end the chill of a dead winter.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 17th, 2012

      It appears that there may be some type of shame here, and a search to escape.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 17th, 2012

      It appears to be very dark here, with little hope. Whenever one speaks or writes of death, they’ve lost hope or they’re in a desperate situation.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 18th, 2012

      This sentence shows a lack of understanding. It’s as if the real situation cannot be grasped.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 18th, 2012

      I believe he’s looking to erase…the silence to me means he wants nothing there.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 18th, 2012

      Is this speaking of a gypsie? Someone who yearns to change the future due to the past?

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 18th, 2012

      Whenever I see documentaries from the past or old movies, there’s always a crowd of spectators looking to watch someone hang. It’s as if it’s their ultimate entertainment.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 18th, 2012

      Again, it’s as if there is no hope for these people. The London Bridge symbolizes something personal to Eliot. It’s apart of home; where he finds comfort.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 18th, 2012

      Usually, a dog represents something unethical..immoral. “Keep the dog”. The evil is not wanted.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      Being a preacher’s kid, this sounds like something straight out of hell. Fire is to get rid of evil and things unwanted.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      Abandonment maybe? A person doesn’t want to feel left alone, and the feelings of isolation has overtaken him.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      Where the men lost who they really are to become someone they aren’t supposed to be.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      I would say he’s looking for agreement.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      He is seen in a differnt way. Like a new image.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      He’s lost, and again he feels abandoned. He needs reassurance.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      Chess is a game of intellect and power. It makes you think, and it’s also time consuming.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      Sounds like he may have lost a gambling bet, and knows he may have to pay a deeper cost.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      The games must end, it’s time to go home and patience has run out.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      You out to be asked that you look so old. He has not taken good care of himself and it shows in his personal appearance.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      I’m sorry for the typos. You ought to be ashamed…meaning he looks old and tattered.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 18th, 2012

      Marriage is something sacred, and people were not always able to choose they wanted, and if they did, it wasn’t always who they wanted to ultimately be with. This line may be describing that.

    • Comment on III. THE FIRE SERMON on September 18th, 2012

      It’s how something that is joined together flows easily and beautifully like the river. Everything is going in the same direction.

    • Comment on III. THE FIRE SERMON on September 18th, 2012

      To me, rats represent filth, and nastiness. I agree, it is a decay.

    • Comment on IV. DEATH BY WATER on September 18th, 2012

      As a reader, it seems like this person is being reminding of his past in great length before a major even takes place.

    • Comment on V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID on September 18th, 2012

      I agree. It’s not specifically to only one part.

  • mduffer

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 17th, 2012

      After reading the first stanza, it’s clear that the poet, with the variety of language and names of people and places (all obscure to me at least), has, from the very beginning, established certain demands of his readers.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 17th, 2012

      The constant shift between what seems to be personal recollections and references to other texts can be disorienting. What is personal and what is historical? Or is he attempting to erase this distinction?

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 17th, 2012

      The references are many. I suspect that gathering any meaning requires a bit of work for the average reader, especially one who comes to the poem 90 years after its publication.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 17th, 2012

      A comment on the poem itself?

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 20th, 2012

      Either way, it’s another rejection of life, or another of the many references to death in life.

    • Comment on III. THE FIRE SERMON on September 17th, 2012

      A second reference to ‘rats’. I believe they serve to further the bleak, decayed imagery of the poem. As a reader, it’s easier to pick up on more general references like this one and it makes it easier to navigate through the many more arcane references.

    • Comment on III. THE FIRE SERMON on September 20th, 2012

      Yes, and interesting when you consider the title of the next section as well, ‘Death by Fire’.

    • Comment on IV. DEATH BY WATER on September 18th, 2012

      It seems that you’re on to something there. To go through age first, then youth seems to be recalling rather than living. Then “entering the whirlpool” could be the actual experience of life.

    • Comment on IV. DEATH BY WATER on September 18th, 2012

      After reading once through, I got the impression that water represents life. But then, does the poet mean “Death by Life” with the title of this section?

    • Comment on IV. DEATH BY WATER on September 18th, 2012

      This section is a slight relief after the long, dense section preceding it.

    • Comment on V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID on September 18th, 2012

      The references not only demand some knowledge of Western traditions, but Eastern as well.

    • Comment on V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID on September 18th, 2012

      Not only does the form make for ‘grim reading,’ but the content as well.

    • Comment on V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID on September 18th, 2012

      Many references to rocks and water. Perhaps death and life respectively?

    • Comment on V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID on September 20th, 2012

      Maybe connects to the ‘Unreal City’ in the ‘Fire Sermon’ section?

  • mpetronzio

    • Comment on Epigraph on September 19th, 2012

      Immediately, we’re faced with a foreign language untranslated. This is a sort of precursor to the challenges we’ll face throughout the poem.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 19th, 2012

      Eliot refers to German cities and parks, and even writes this line in German. His own notes to the text don’t translate this line into English. While the average reader may be able to get the gist of what is said, Eliot certainly doesn’t make it easy.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 19th, 2012

      The narrator addresses the Biblical Son of man (Ezekiel). Is this the same narrator from the previous stanza (Marie)? There’s a shift in syntax, hinting at a shift of narrator, but the sullen tone remains the same.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 19th, 2012

      Agreed. It’s admirable how many references Eliot can fit into such short time/space, but infinitely confusing.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 19th, 2012

      Many of these figures are not actually featured in the Tarot deck, or at least not as familiar as ones like the Fool, etc. Jung said something about Tarot cards being archetypes — perhaps Eliot is setting up characters he wants the reader to keep in mind for the rest of the poem.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 19th, 2012

      There have been numerous references to Dante’s Inferno — Hades — so far. There’s definitely an overlying feeling of despair.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 19th, 2012

      Mylae refers to much more ancient time — even in the narrator recognizing someone, Eliot tries to instill the feeling of disillusionment.

    • Comment on I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD on September 19th, 2012

      Latin –> German –> French

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 19th, 2012

      I think the narrator is actually speaking to a woman — Lil — and is saying that she needs to fix herself up before her husband returns from war. Interesting sentiments of the time.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 19th, 2012

      She has taken pills to abort her pregnancy.

    • Comment on II. A GAME OF CHESS on September 19th, 2012

      Or perhaps it’s just birth control?

    • Comment on III. THE FIRE SERMON on September 19th, 2012

      This makes me think of baptism by fire. Whereas baptism by water invokes healing/repentance, fire makes me think of wrath, or another consuming emotion.

    • Comment on III. THE FIRE SERMON on September 19th, 2012

      The “young man carbuncular” has sexually assaulted the typist. It seems as if Eliot does this to add yet another grim scene.

    • Comment on IV. DEATH BY WATER on September 19th, 2012

      This has some beautiful language and imagery, but the brevity and the lack of context forces the reader to read the section more than once. Ultimately, it remains difficult to understand its meaning.

    • Comment on V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID on September 19th, 2012

      Focus is on death — akin to “as soon as we’re born, we start dying,” in a way.

    • Comment on V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID on September 19th, 2012

      Reminds me of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner — “Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”

    • Comment on V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID on September 19th, 2012

      Eliot seems to be intimating that one dying city is every dying city in history.

    • Comment on V. WHAT THE THUNDER SAID on September 19th, 2012

      Perhaps Eliot is revolting against typical discourse (to bring Eyesteinsson to mind) by writing in a vastly atypical way. Could Eliot’s unfamiliar language choices still impart the information he wants us to leave with? It makes me wonder if the “ordinary reader” is really part of Eliot’s audience.

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