Tag Archives: T.S. Eliot

april 1. come she will 2. is the cruelest month

“April Showers bring May flowers”

tulips!

My meteorological question of the day. Where does it rain the most in April? I guess England and the Northeast? Because things bloom in April here, and it rains a lot in March. I guess because Georgia’s winter ends in late February/early March and by the end of March it is full on spring. Well, key to this proverb is that April is a time for new beginnings! and I am completely craving spring time.

I wanted to looked at how April was portrayed in one of my favorite and poems and one of my favorite songs because in Modern Poetry when we were looking at “The Wasteland” I kept wanting to sing this song by Simon and Garfunkel, which of course turned out horribly because I usually try to do both harmonies at the same time and of course fail.

In “April Come She Will” Simon and Garfunkel sing about a girl who, after she comes in April when streams are swelled with rain, and by September, she has up and left him and he is nostalgic about her. It is telling that the love starts in April, opposed to January the “start” of the year because it returns to a pagan concept of the calendar based on fertility opposed to science, that the man and woman are able to be together in fertile times, but the man is unable to harvest his love and keep it through the winter and thus is only left with his memories. Supposedly this song was based an English nursery rhyme that Paul Simon’s femme du jour would sing absentmindedly.

In “The Wasteland,” T.S. Eliot opens with his now-oft quoted like “April is the cruelest month” referring to the renewal of life coming from ground [lilacs] disturbing the dead who are buried and don’t want to wake up. I’m pretty sure this is just about the saddest thing ever.

Though both works suggest and are open to a cyclical nature in life and renewal, they both also start in April, the time of fertility and renewal and end in images of winter/dead/absence without an explicit point towards renewal, the April works are rather depressing.

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independent research brainstorming

This is the last thing I need to be doing! I should be polishing my Villette paper, outlining my Mina Loy paper or reacting to Richard Gere is my Hero, the film we just watched in Tibet and Film Studies.

But reading “The Wasteland” by T.S. Eliot today really piqued my interest in the depiction of shell shocked victims in Modernist literature. There is a World War I veteran who could be interpreted as shell-shocked in the first part of the poem “1. The Burial of the Dead” which is the closest in proximity to the introduction in Ancient Greek and Latin, as well contains the quote that brings up questions of nationality during a time of war “Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.” which is “I am not Russian at all; I come from Lithuania, a true German” in German. Also there is a quote from Wagner’s opera in German “Tristan und Isolde” and allusions to the poetry of Charles Baudelaire.

Well this reminded me severely of Septimus Warren Smith from my favorite Modernist novel, Mrs. Dalloway, who hallucinates that the birds are speaking to him in Greek. While this hallucination comes from Virginia Woolf’s own, I think there may be a connection between this break down of language and the break down of cultural identity that comes from such a disillusioning war like World War I for the British.

So I think I’ll be doing some independent research over my spring break concerning whether this comes up again in other Modernist works concerning World War I’s disillusionment with cultural identity or other works concerning other wars.

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mini-connection

Today in Modern Poetry, we were discussing “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot.

I could probably write an insane amount this poem. All of it not making much sense. But I had an adorable, non-sequitur epiphany in relation to the poem.

J. Alfred Prufrock implores:

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do

We discussed how sad it was that in his own Shakespearian fantasy, Prufrock isn’t even Hamlet, he’s Polonius [attendant lord] who is an intellectual fool and dies on accident!

But this made me think of [Scrubs], where in J.D.’s Batman fantasy, he is Robin, while his best friend, Turk, is Batman.

Batman Turk and Robin J.D.

These are the kind of observations I would usually say in class in high school. But with my new goal to be less annoying in class, at least with my ramblings, I’m putting them on my blog instead!

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