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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1answer
472 views

What's the implied meaning of this poem by Russell Edson?

My friends are discussing what's the implied meaning of this poem: "Fire Is Not a Nice Guest" by Russell Edson. Some people feel like it insinuates a futile effort to save people around. But ...
3
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0answers
59 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 ...
3
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0answers
20 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 ...
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578 views

What metaphor(s) are represented by the mysterious figure in Charles Causley's “Innocent's Song”?

The other day, I came across this rather sinister poem by Charles Causley, set to music. Innocent's Song Who's that knocking on the window, Who's that standing at the door, What are ...
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1answer
49 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. ...
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44 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/...
5
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1answer
255 views

The meaning of the poem “Be Different to Trees”

I'm studying the poem "Be Different to Trees" (1924) by Mary Carolyn Davies: The talking oak To the ancients spoke. But any tree Will talk to me. What truths I know I garnered so. ...
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50 views

Louise Glück's “Vespers”

The following poem "Vespers" comes from The Wild Iris, a 1992 book of poetry written by Louise Glück, the 2020 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. In your extended absence, you permit ...
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40 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’...
3
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1answer
376 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 ...
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21 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, ...
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38 views

What was Kafka's point in The Metamorphosis'?

When Gregor Samsa awakens to find himself transformed into some type of beetle or roach-like creature, he gives little thought to whys and wherefores but just seems to attempt to deal with his ...
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3answers
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What is “This is Just to Say” about?

In "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, the speaker appears to deliver an apology for stealing the plums of the person at whom the poem is targeted. I have heard some people analyze this ...
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46 views

What is a central theme in Robert Frost's “After Apple-Picking,” and how is it revealed in the poem?

Robert Frost's After Apple-Picking, published in North of Boston (1914) is, at least at the surface level, a poem about harvesting apples and sleep. But what is actually its central theme and how is ...
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2answers
202 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 ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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1answer
173 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 ...
4
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1answer
179 views

What is the meaning of “Won't Tell” by Babes in Toyland?

Babes In Toyland has long been one of my favorite rock bands for the raw power of the music and vocals, but I've always felt as though there is a complexity to the lyrics of "Won't Tell", compared to, ...
3
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2answers
125 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 ...
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1answer
64 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 ...
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1answer
587 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
2k views

What does T. S. Eliot mean in the poem The Hollow Men when he ended it with “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper”?

I once read a poem "The Hollow Men" by T. S. Eliot. The poet ended the verse like this: This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a ...
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0answers
241 views

What is “ache-and-pain-a-me back-o-hardness” in “We the Women”?

I need an explanation for what Grace Nichols is trying to say in the following stanzas from her poem "We the Women": We the women who cut clear fetch dig sing We the women making something ...
4
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1answer
88 views

A slightly different interpretation in the poem “Boat Stealing” by Wordsworth

I have recently annotated this poem and when looking online, I have found that my interpretation of the poem in some aspects is a bit different to most others. I just want to make sure that my ...
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64 views

What is the inner meaning of “A Common Confusion”?

"A Common Confusion" is a very short story by Franz Kafka, only three paragraphs long with an English translation available in full online: A common experience, resulting in a common ...
2
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1answer
211 views

Thomas Hardy’s “The Man He Killed”

Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Man He Killed’ (1902) was published in Time’s Laughingstocks (1909):     “Had he and I but met     By some old ancient inn, We should have sat us down to wet     Right ...
3
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1answer
93 views

Keats' views on beauty

In the poem Endymion: A poetic romance (1818), the first stanza of Book I (beginning, "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever") focuses a great deal on beauty where Keats presents some of his views on ...
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2answers
1k views

What are the “lovely tales” in Keats' “Endymion”?

What is Keats saying in the last three lines here? And such too is the grandeur of the dooms We have imagined for the mighty dead; All lovely tales that we have heard or read: An endless ...
3
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1answer
445 views

Are “simple sheep” a biblical reference in Keats' “Endymion”?

In the poem Endymion: A poetic romance (1818), the first stanza of Book I (beginning, "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever") contains the following passage:-                                       ...
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0answers
96 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): ...
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2answers
6k views

What is the meaning of Blake's poem “The Sick Rose”?

William Blake's very short poem "The Sick Rose", from his Songs of Innocence and of Experience, runs as follows: O rose, thou art sick! The invisible worm, That flies in the night, In ...
2
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1answer
422 views

Ezra Pound's “In a Station of the Metro”

Ezra Pound wrote a very short poem entitled "In a Station of the Metro". It is, in full: The apparition of these faces in the crowd: Petals on a wet, black bough. What kind of meaning and ...
3
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1answer
224 views

Michael Field’s ‘To Christina Rossetti’

‘Michael Field’ was a joint pen-name used by Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper. Their elegy ‘To Christina Rossetti’ (1896) was written after Rossetti’s death in 1894. Lady, we would behold thee ...
2
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1answer
82 views

Anne Bronte's “The Penitent”

Anne Bronte's poem "The Penitent", originally published under the name Acton Bell in the book Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846) published jointly with her two sisters, reads as follows: ...
2
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1answer
195 views

Emily Jane Pfeiffer's “Evolution”

Emily Jane Pfeiffer’s poem ‘Evolution’ was first published in Poems (1876): Hunger that strivest in the restless arms     Of the sea-flower, that drivest rooted things     To break their ...
7
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3answers
309 views

John Betjeman’s “Suicide on Junction Road Station after Abstention from Evening Communion in North London”

John Betjeman’s poem ‘Suicide on Junction Road Station after Abstention from Evening Communion in North London’ was first published in the collection Continual Dew (1937). It’s short enough to quote ...
3
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1answer
690 views

Repetition of “smile” in Kamala Surayya's 'My Mother at Sixty-six'

In the poem 'My Mother at Sixty-six' by Kamala Surayya, the poet ends the "prose" saying all I did was smile and smile and smile.... There are various critical interpretations as to what does the ...
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2answers
5k views

What is the deeper meaning of “The Tyger”?

William Blake's poem "The Tyger" is part of his collection Songs of Innocence and of Experience, an extraordinary set of poems which explores ideas such as spirituality, love, poverty, repression, all ...
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441 views

What is the deeper meaning of Blake's “The Lily”?

The poem "The Lily" by William Blake must be one of the shortest of his Songs of Innocence and of Experience collection, only four lines long: The modest Rose puts forth a thorn, The humble sheep ...