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26 March 2007 @ 03:56 am
Response #5  
(Oh, awesome. I absolutely adore T.S. Eliot, and I love this poem.)

Something about this smacks of The Hollow Men, though I guess that is not unexpected. What is profound to me is the small, sensory details Eliot speaks of that bring a memory to life--a trigger, that fleshes out the intimacies of a long-forgotten situation, brings it from the faded past to intimate relief, smell, sight, and sound making time collapse in on itself. I have come to realize in my own studies of writing that these seemingly small, irrelevant details (the material of which a shirt is made, a pattern on a teacup) can bring every detail of the entire scene to life by triggering an intimacy, a placement, in the reader's mind.

Miscommunication is integral to all of Eliot's poems, though the more one knows about his life and the disillusioned poets of his era, this isn't very shocking. Everybody has been in a situation in which he or she is talking to somebody close, and no matter how many times you repeat exactly what you mean (or so you think), the person never fully understands, and visa versa. The gulf is crippling, and is sometimes the death-blow to an otherwise loving relationship. It is excruciating. And, when Eliot asks if it would have been worth it to try to hammer things out, one has to wonder if it could even been done, as the girl repeats again, "you don't understand". And, would the pain and misunderstanding have been worth the good times, if he had it to do over?

It seems to me a painful flashback, fragments of grittily realistic memory infused with the brilliance of observation. This is how poetry IS life. This sort of poetry is the missing link between lofty, dreamers' prose, and the gospel of the common tragedy.
 
 
Current Location: The dorms
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: silence
 
 
 
trentonjacobs on March 26th, 2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with you here Lauren. The power of such a miscommunication is extremely high. Everybody knows how frustraiting it can be to be trying to convey a point to somebody close to you, and it feels like the words are just bouncing off without sinking in just one little bit. And your right, the question comes down to whether or not the pain and misunderstanding were worth all of the good times. I think this really depends upon the situation and the people, but I for one side with sucking it up and just trying my best to enjoy the good times as they come regardless of the misunderstanding that may arise from them... huh. P.S. I really like your reasoning in this comment Lauren, I was kind of lost with the meaning of the poem, then read you comment and it helped me out a lot! :)