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Spirituality and The Second Coming

Spirituality and The Second Coming

In his eloquent poem “The Second Coming” William Butler Yeats uses word choice and phrase combinations to convey to the reader an understanding of his sentiment of impossibility concerning the fate of spirituality for the human race. His inner conscious is spread out in the poem for the reader to either accompany him in his darkness or to turn their back and continue to believe in their own form of hopefulness in spirituality.

Yeats cleverly hints to the reader his despair in the phrase, “Turning and turning in the widening gyre” (Yeats, Longman p. 2329: 1.). The reader can hear the voice of the poet describing his journey farther and farther from his once cherished center based on religion. His beliefs have been shattered over time. According to the introduction in The Longman Anthology British Literature, “The 1890’s in London were heady times for a young poet. Yeats became even more active in his studies of the occult” which was years before he wrote The Second Coming. This interest may have led the poet away from his former religious values. It is possible that because of this turn away from religion the author’s basic value system may have been in turmoil at the time of writing The Second Coming.

Yeats drifting away from his religious beliefs may be evidenced in the phrase, “The falcon cannot hear the falconer” which could be interpreted as he can no longer hear the voice of his former God (Yeats, 2). The falcon in this sentence may refer to Yeats himself and the falconer may symbolize his former God. When the author writes, “the center cannot hold” he may be referring to his idea that organized religion can no longer give credence or explanation to his wor…

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…s of the words written by Yeats and their possible meanings, the poetry written can surely be considered worthy of placement in the literary cannon not only for the beauty of the work then for the author’s ability to raise questions for generations to come.

Works Cited

Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism. New Jersey. Prentice Hall, 1999.

Conrad, Joseph. “Heart of Darkness” The Longman Anthology British Literature. Ed. David Damrosch. Longman. New York. 2000. 2190-2246.

Damrosch, David, et al., ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol. B. Compact ed. New York: Longman – Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.

Scott, Paul. The Jewel in the Crown. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 1976.

Yeats, William, Butler. “The Second Coming.” The Longman Anthology British Literature. Ed. David Damrosch. Longman. New York. 2000. 2329.

An Analysis of Neutral Tones by Thomas Hardy

An Analysis of Neutral Tones by Thomas Hardy

“We stood by a pond that winter day,” (1) This line indicates a still quietness, with lack of the movement of life. There is a vast difference in appearance and movement around a pond in winter and a pond in the midst of summer. This indicates no leaves, and no visible signs of life. The poet is painting a stark and lifeless scene.

“And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,”(2) This is indicative of the modernist approach to light as being too harsh and not a positive factor. Chidden means scolded, rebuked, or even blamed. God is not looking favorably upon these people.

“And a few leaves lay on the starving sod;”(3) Leaves fall from trees when they are dead, and the term ‘starving’ refers to the dying of the ground.

“They had fallen from an Ash, and were gray,”(4) Ash trees are very beautiful hardwood trees, and this line indicates the passing of beauty, and ties in with the dying leaves mentioned in line three. This first stanza indicates that something once beautiful is dying.

“Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove”(5) When lovers who are in love look upon one another, it is usually with a fixed gaze. That old love song, “I only have eyes for you” helps explain the poets anguish when he realizes his lover is no longer mesmerized while in his company.

“Over tedious riddles of years ago;” (6) is indicative of some unresolved problems between the two people in this poem.

“And some words played between us to and fro” (7) seems to indicate small talk and mindless chatter.

“On which lost the more by our love”(8) tells the reader that the poet is unhappy with the chatter and would rather be speaking of the unresolved problems betwee…

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…a definite and recognizable pattern. This poem is certainly not a sonnet, either in subject matter, meaning, or format. The rhyme scheme for this poem is that of A B B A, C D D C, E F F E, G H H G. There is enough continuity in this rhyme scheme to hold the poem together as a whole through the use of the pattern, however the changing of the actual rhyming words and the fact that, for instance, the A word is only repeated one time (as are all of the others) intensifies the poets feelings of loss over the change in his love’s desires. Through the rhyming scheme, the poet is conveying the hopelessness of the two of them getting back together and repeating the beautiful love they once shared.

Works Cited

Damrosch, David, et al., ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol. B. Compact ed. New York: Longman – Addison Wesley Longman, 2000. p. 2256

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