Questions tagged [interpretation]

Questions asking for general, open-ended, interpretation of a text. Use this tag if you want answers that address all and any aspects of the text: its meaning, atmosphere, style, images, structure, references, context, and so on. Best used on short texts only.

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Who speaks in the last sentence of this passage from Raymond Carver's "Fever"? Is it the character or the narrator?

Context: Carol is a divorced woman from work that Carlyle (the protagonist) started seeing a few months after his wife had left him and the kids. Carlyle has not been successful in finding a good ...
Amin's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
33 views

Why does the chronology of Smith's The Fraud jump about?

Zadie Smith's The Fraud (New York: Penguin, 2023) is historical fiction about the novelist William Harrison Ainsworth and the Tichborne Case. The story is told largely from the point of view of ...
verbose's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
101 views

Who is the "creature" in the final verses of this poem?

Elinor Wylie's poem The Mountaineer's Ballad ends with the following two-and-a-half verses, which describe the eponymous mountaineer: Thinking maybe of marriages, And maybe of wars. And maybe of the ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
283 views

What does "The Shampoo" written by Elizabeth Bishop tell?

The still explosions on the rocks, the lichens, grow by spreading, gray, concentric shocks. They have arranged to meet the rings around the moon, although within our memories they have not changed. ...
user19826's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
700 views

Meaning of "My owners'll have to rank with the rest on their charter-party"?

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XVI, published 1892) Passage 256 “All the same,” continued Nares, “you went into the opium-smuggling with your head down; and a ...
philphil's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
260 views

Who is the "lady weeping at the crossroads" in W. H. Auden's poem?

... and why does she need to go to the end of the world to plunge a penknife into her false heart? W. H. Auden's poem Lady Weeping at the Crossroads starts with the stanza “Lady, weeping at the ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
246 views

What aspects of quantum mechanics occur in "Treacle Walker"?

Treacle Walker is a (very) short novel by Alan Garner, the author of many classic works of children's fantasy. Published in 2021, it reached the shortlist of the 2022 Booker Prize. The Booker Prizes ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
128 views

How to Interpret a mention of Tolstoy in "Revenge Fable" by Ted Hughes?

Tolstoy appears in one of Ted Hughes' Crow poems, called Revenge Fable. Here is the first half of the poem (bolded, full text here): Revenge Fable There was a person Could not get rid of his mother ...
HeyJude's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
97 views

Can we interpret Frankenstein as a work by an author struggling with depression?

There's no "My God, man, you're not telling us something!" moment, is there? Victor's family sort of sit by as they're all killed off and even his dad doesn't press him. I know we're ...
Ethan Miller's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
608 views

What did Lem find in his game-theoretical analysis of the writings of Marquis de Sade?

According to Peter Swirski in Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future (Liverpool University Press, 2015; on Google Books; emphasis mine), The author [Lem] himself eloquently argued on behalf of ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
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Why did T.S. Eliot compare “waiting for death” with “a feather on the back of the hand"?

A Song for Simeon Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and The winter sun creeps by the snow hills; The stubborn season has made stand. My life is light, waiting for the death wind, Like a ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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What does this mean about the interpretation of Lauretta's song at the end of Day 3?

At the end of Day 3 of the Decameron, Lauretta sings the following song after dinner, at the request of the new "king" Filostrato: What dame disconsolate May so lament as I, That vainly ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
204 views

5 stages of grief in An Inspector Calls

Would it make sense if inspector Goole was a relative of Eva and we are in his mind as he goes through the five stages of grief? This does not mean that he goes through these five stages in order but ...
Sorae's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can A. A. Milne's "The Dormouse and the Doctor" poem be interpreted?

I've been reading When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne and stumbled upon this beautiful poem, "The Dormouse and the Doctor". I would really appreciate if somebody could explain to me in ...
JConstantine's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
114 views

Thomas Moore’s “Copy of an Intercepted Despatch”

Thomas Moore’s poem ‘Copy of an Intercepted Despatch’ was first published in The Times (July 1826) and collected in Odes Upon Cash, Corn, Catholics and Other Matters (1828), from which I quote the ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
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Emily Jane Pfeiffer’s “Klytemnestra”

‘Klytemnestra’ is the title of a pair of sonnets by Emily Jane Pfeiffer, first published in The Contemporary Review (June 1878), page 544. In this question I’m asking about the first sonnet, quoted in ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
320 views

Interpretation of "Mockingbird" by Charles Bukowski

This is the poem "Mockingbird" by Charles Bukowski, first published in Mockingbird Wish Me Luck (1972): the mockingbird had been following the cat all summer mocking mocking mocking teasing ...
Siddharth Mahendiran's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
108 views

John P Portelli, "Upwards I Surge"

This question seeks an analysis of John P. Portelli's very short poem "Nog la 'L Fuq" / "Upwards I Surge" (1977), originally written in Maltese and included with an English ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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1 vote
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25 views

Does Georg Heym's poem Louis Capet betray a specific political orientation?

The German poet Georg Heym was an important representative of expressionism. Wikipedia tells us that he was a member of the short-lived society or club Der Neue Club: Other members of this Club ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
423 views

What do the saint, the angel, the musician and the sandalwood refer to in Mallarmé's poem Sainte?

Stéphane Mallarmé was a major symbolist poet. One of his poems is Sainte (available on Wikisource). On the surface, it talks about musical instruments, a sandalwood tree, religious ceremonies, an ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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1 vote
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28 views

Based on what connections between the two novellas in Coetzee's Dusklands is that book considered a novel?

In the meta question How do we deal with tags in composite works such as the Bible? verbose asked, J. M. Coetzee's Dusklands comprises two novellas, The Vietnam Project and The Narrative of Jacobus ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
355 views

Actual meaning of Shakespeare's sonnet 30

Sonnet 30 is commonly believed to be talking aboutt 'How Shakespeare's mood gets lifted when he thinks of his friend' (common believed to be fair youth). So while reading on the topic I came across an ...
Ammu's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
152 views

Valzhyna Mort's "it's so hard to believe"

The poem "it's so hard to believe" by the Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort can be found here both in the original Belarusian and in an English translation. According to my reading, the poem ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Analysis of "While I speak God's law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering."

In The Crucible, during act 4 (Danforth's monologue), he says While I speak God's law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering. When looking at this quote the only technique I can see is ...
Pen and Paper's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
3k views

John Agard's "In Times of Peace"

As for eyes, are eyes ready for the soft dance of a butterfly's bootless invasion? From "In times of peace" by John Agard. What could this mean? I have been thinking that it could reflect ...
Jayfeather's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
494 views

Meaning behind “Where Once The Waters Of Your Face“

I recently read a poem called “Where Once The Waters Of Your Face” by Dylan Thomas. What does it mean? I feel there are a lot of terms related to sailing but I’m not sure I understand it completely. ...
Abhishek's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
720 views

What does the poem "Philosophy" by Nissim Ezekiel mean?

Here is the poem "Philosophy" by Nissim Ezekiel. What do the parts in bold mean? There is a place to which I often go, Not by planning to, but by a flow Away from all existence, to a cold ...
user392289's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
57 views

Robert Ronnow's "East Harlem to the Grand Tetons"

Robert Ronnow has a lot of poetry on his website, and this question is about "East Harlem to the Grand Tetons", a poem from his collection Brother Death, which the poet makes freely ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
279 views

Analyzing Thomas Mcguane's "Balloons"

Recently, The New Yorker came out with Thomas Mcguane's short story "Balloons". It is a short piece of fiction, really. However, it wasn't clear to me what the author intended to convey ...
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5 votes
1 answer
431 views

Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Figs from Thistles: First Fig"

Edna St. Vincent Millay's very short poem "Figs from Thistles: First Fig" goes as follows: My candle burns at both ends;    It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—  ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
24 views

Walter Malone's "The World is My Home"

Walter Malone's poem "The World is My Home" is, on the face of it, openly a plea for humanity to come together as one united brotherhood rather than engage in disputes and wars: Travel to ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
348 views

William Ernest Henley's "Invictus"

I am not able to understand William Ernest Henley's poem "Invictus" properly, except the last two lines. Can someone explain in detail the meaning of this poem? Out of the night that covers ...
ajayramesh's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the central summary of "Erlkönig"?

I was listening to Franz Schubert’s musical concert of "Erlkönig", and the music was perfect. The lyrics were quite plain and simple, but why is it so famous? I read the poem, heard Schubert ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
362 views

How can pleasant thoughts bring sad thoughts to the mind?

“Lines Written in the Early Spring” is English Romantic poet William Wordsworth’s meditation on the harmony of nature and on humanity’s failure to follow nature’s peaceful example. However, in the ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
214 views

Is there an anti-semitic subtext in Roald Dahl's The Witches?

I read this article which suggested that Roald Dahl's The Witches is basically a work of anti-Semitism. Now I am aware of Roald's own apparent/alleged anti-Semitism but this is a question specifically ...
komodosp's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
290 views

Ko Un's "Around Unmun Temple at Ch'Eongdo"

Ko Un's poem "Around Unmun Temple at Ch'Eongdo" can be read, in its English translation by Sunny Jung (and Hillel Schwartz?), at the Poetry Foundation website. There's a lot to unpack in ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
271 views

What are the poetic devices used in this poem and how do they relate to its meaning?

What are the poetic devices (tone, imagery etcetera) used in this poem and how do they contribute to the poem's overall theme? I would appreciate an answer based on a close reading of the text. ...
cynthy's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
759 views

"Walking to Work" by Frank O'Hara

I'm looking for any insight on the poem "Walking to Work" (1952) by Frank O'Hara. I feel like the meanings are just escaping me, and I can't find any analysis on the Internet to support/...
ribenafan55's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
951 views

Louise Glück's "Vespers"

The poem "Vespers" (reproduced in full at the linked page, and in the revision history of this post) comes from The Wild Iris, a 1992 book of poetry written by Louise Glück, the 2020 winner ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
74 views

Emily Jane Pfeiffer’s “To the Blind Architect of the City of Life”

Emily Jane Pfeiffer’s sonnet ‘To the Blind Architect of the City of Life, whose Humble Homes are the Creatures of Earth, Water, and Air, and whose “Meeting-House” is Man’ was first published in Littel’...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
4k views

"The Laburnum Top" by Ted Hughes - poem explanation

I want to know the line by line explanation of the poem "The Laburnum Top" (written by Ted Hughes). Source (Page 31) The Laburnum top is silent, quite still In the afternoon yellow ...
Random Person's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
156 views

Julia Wong Kcomt, "The Red Rooster"

The Chinese-Peruvian poet Julia Wong Kcomt wrote two poems for Words Without Borders about her experiences as a product of two different cultures. I'm particularly interested in the first of them, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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26 votes
2 answers
6k views

Bilbo’s song of Eärendil in “The Fellowship of the Ring”

In The Fellowship of the Ring, the character Bilbo Baggins recites a poem beginning with these lines: Eärendil was a mariner that tarried in Arvernien; he built a boat of timber felled in Nimbrethil ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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-4 votes
1 answer
263 views

In how many ways can you interpret this haiku poem? [closed]

What may be the possible (hidden) interpretations of this poem (written by me), which uses a form of Japanese poetry called 'haiku'? a filled bow, stretched with zest- the smile flies How would the ...
Sangha E Yeta's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
810 views

Interpretation of “ Time as a stuff can be wasted” in Sandburg's A Father to His Son

In the poem A Father to His Son, the poet says, "Time as a stuff can be wasted'. In most of the summaries of this poem, it is mentioned that the poet says that time can be wasted as if the poet ...
Baskaran Soundararajan's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
3k views

Who is Tich Miller? What has happened to her? Why was this poem written about her?

My literature homework about poetry involves the poem 'Tich Miller' of Wendy Cope. it is as follows: Tich Miller wore glasses with elastoplast-pink frames and had one foot three sizes larger than the ...
zinu's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
53 views

Why did Raymond Williams always take the best ones?

In "Sever" from the Karate album Unsolved (2000), we can hear the following lines: Because in my life there was only asbestos And Raymond Williams, you always took the best ones Now, like ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
572 views

Relationship between title and protagonist's fate in Tolstoy's God Sees the Truth, but Waits

I went through Tolstoy's story God Sees the Truth, But Waits but I wonder what the title suggests and how it suits the story in regard to the protagonist Aksionov. A good innocent man is wrongly ...
Baskaran Soundararajan's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
635 views

Edgar Allan Poe's "Alone"

The short poem "Alone" by Edgar Allan Poe was written in 1829 or 1830, when he was a young man, but only published in 1875 long after his death. Its full text is as follows: From childhood’s hour I ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
317 views

Marianne Moore’s ‘Four Quartz Crystal Clocks’

Marianne Moore’s poem ‘Four Quartz Crystal Clocks’ (1940) was first published in The Kenyon Review 2:3, pp. 284–285, and collected in What Are Years (1941). Here's the first stanza (of seven): ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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