Even her farmer is a traditional administrator (selectman) in the speaker's own village of all places. Sample Papers; Tags . He echoes the sayings of Saint John, King Lear and Satan, all of which express emotional crisis. Her farmer is first selectman in our village, she's in her dotage. The scene is set by first introducing the old and frail heiress of the island who is a stickler for tradition, a conservative, fading aristocrat landowner with a bishop for a son and ruins for the future. Skunk Hour Analysis 1108 Words5 Pages Confessional poet Robert Lowell expresses his personal trauma in his poem Skunk Hour through his syntax, multiple themes, and his gothic tone. The overall tone of Skunk Hour is pessimistic, even depressing - only the skunks seem to live brightly in the here and now of Nautilus Island. College research essay application prompts texas living long essay labour in india Essay for reading death penalty introduction Essay tv speech monthly Dissertation thesis topics wireless communication This is a dark and thought provoking poem, with religious anxieties surfacing, and raises issues that are universal and relevant for today. The poem can be divided into four main parts or stages of development of images. Or is he lonely only in his mind, despite others being near. Skunk Hour by Robert Lowell: Summary and Critical Analysis. The speaker has moved from depression to the spiritual rebirth of his natural energies, from a decadent world to individual revitalization. She lives in a small house, buys up all the ugly houses across from her and tears them down. Poetry analysis: Skunk Hour, by Robert Lowell In beginning of “Skunk Hour” (the first four stanzas to be more precise), Robert Lowell gives the sense of a Maine sea town that is slowly declining. Things fall further apart as the speaker is filled with a kind of self-loathing and wants to strangle himself, do himself in. But the observation of the shifting context helps us generalize about the development and meaning. There is no reference to people, only the bodies of the cars, hull to hull, as if it's the vehicles that are mating. Skunk Hour is a confessional poem written in 1957. Shrestha, Roma. But again note the specific details: I watched for love-cars. Brief descriptions set the scene until the main protagonist, the sad, lonely speaker, begins his rather pathetic confession. Skunk Hour Meanings Of Certain Words and Phrases. He's falling apart, just like the island. hull to hull - the speaker sees the cars as boats, next to one another as if on a river. In it, the poet reveals his personal secret confesses that he is living meaninglessly and suffering from the loss of faith, courage and even desire for life. They march on their soles up Main Street: white stripes, moonstruck eyes’ red fire under the chalk-dry and spar spire of the Trinitarian Church. . He learns a lesson, and a new life begins for him. Published in 1957, Skunk Hour is a part of Lowell’s fourth book, Life Studies. “Skunk Hour” is the last poem in Life Studies, and as such it was meant to sum up the themes and tone of the collection and suggest some sort of resolution. In the context of the entire Volume, "Skunk Hour" articulates a ground of values that make it possible to endure, if not to overcome, the anxieties of contemporary life and the loss of traditional grounds for value. Summary of Skunk Hour ‘Skunk Hour’ by Robert Lowell describes a speaker’s fascination with a Maine town and the secret night-time activities he participates in. Wedlock would seem to be a way out of a life destined for a peculiar kind of sad, island loneliness, although at the time of writing, 1957, marriage for gay couples would have been out the question. Thirsting for the hierarchic privacy of Queen Victoria’s century, she buys up all the eyesores facing her shore, and lets them fall. Skunk Hour was inspired by fellow poet Elizabeth Bishop's poem Armadillo. He may be tainted inside, despairing, but at least he can remain humble and seek some solace from the natural world, despite the imposition of modern life around him - money and societal pressures and family traditions all take their toll. These combine to endorse the idea that on this island things are falling into a state of disrepair, which doesn't bode well for the future. The poem is creating a general symbol of the modern human condition. It's not a fun place to exist in according to the speaker; there is a sickness pervading and he seems to be a victim of it, admitting that he is not right in the mind. The rhyme scheme changes as the speaker becomes aware that he is not alone - skunks are out in the moonlight. The language is simple, but suggestive, too. Basically she's living in the past. The poem has intricate metre and internal rhymes. The first part of the poem is pessimistic: stanzas 1 to 6 express frustrations, doubt and failures. Analysis In "Skunk Hour," Robert Lowell begins by describing a strange, hermit woman. The four dots at the end of this line are poignant and pregnant with possibility. This is a light moment in an otherwise quite somber poem. The third part of the poem shows how the persona wanders in intense agony and spiritual crisis. Thirsting for the hierarchie privacy Categories . The poem is essentially obscure like the thought and express of a mental patient. The Styx from Greek mythology, associated with the final crossing of the soul? The speaker only infers, he doesn't explicitly state. For example, the speaker admits to secretly watching lovers in their cars at night and this makes him feel bad, like hell. Published in 1957, Skunk Hour is a part of Lowell’s fourth book, Life Studies. Uncategorized. The title of the poem means “disgusting period”: the word ‘skunk’ denotes to a small and badly smelling rat like animal, but as an adjective (before the noun ‘hour’) it means ‘extremely hateful’; the word ‘hour’ must mean ‘period’, ‘time’ or ‘phase’. Has the speaker learnt his lesson? . |, Copyright © www.bachelorandmaster.com All Rights Reserved. The poem is dedicated to his friend and junior poetess Elizabeth Bishop, who also wrote poetry about the necessity of simple powers of the mind and spirit to … There is a “hermit heiress.” Her son is a bishop and her farmer is the first selectman of the town. In between is a half-rhyme. Analysis of "Skunk Hour" by Robert Lowell Original poem reprinted online here: "Skunk Hour" by Robert Lowell Originally read: September 19, 2013 More information about the Poet: Robert Lowell. Skunk hour poetry analysis essay. The revelation or epiphany at the end is unbelievable. It was published in his groundbreaking book of poems, Life Studies, and is regarded … Privacy and Cookie Policy Using words like lost, leap, and auctioned off all point to a person permanently not returning, his boat now belonging to locals who will put it to better use. Lights turned down, they lay together, hull to hull, where the graveyard shelves on the town. Although his manic depression was often a great burden (for himself and his family), the subject of that mental The first part presents an old woman in a lonely island trying to maintain her old ways by buying cultural antiques. Skunk Hour Summary. . Dedicated to Elisabeth Bishop and an homage to her style. “Skunk Hour” depicts a man at a moment of crisis. That process is also suggested by the pattern of the poem that moves from a dying old human mother who is failing to maintain her values to a young animal mother which is able to live so fully and actively. He must fight and struggle against degradation and artificiality. This is the therapy for an ill soul, of modern man. The speaker is so close to the cars on the hill he can hear music from one of the radios. His observations track an elderly, wealthy woman who seems to have a ton of property, but who is quite alone in her older years. Skunk Hour Analysis 1108 Words | 5 Pages Confessional poet Robert Lowell expresses his personal trauma in his poem Skunk Hour through his syntax, multiple themes, and his gothic tone. The second part begins with “the season is ill”, an expression of frustration. BachelorandMaster, 17 Nov. 2013, bachelorandmaster.com/britishandamericanpoetry/skunk-hour.html. From "On Skunk Hour," in Robert Lowell: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. The speaker, an ambiguous “we” dangling over the story, tells the readers bluntly that the heiress' son is a bishop, a farmer on her farm holds a place in the local government, and that she is beginning to grow senile. He's a type of voyeur - a victim of a modern, uncaring, materialistic community or a loner who will resort to crazy things for a buzz. For example, lines 4 through 6 state the following: “Her farmer / is first selectman in our village; / … The speaker is revealed, at last, having 'hidden' behind the first four stanzas, but note the wording of the second line: Somehow the car is driving itself up that hill, with the speaker absent, as if there's no personal responsibility for the action. Tags . Read through this stanza several times and the full end rhymes help it to become memorable, perhaps the poet's intention. The tone is one of mild desperation at this stage in the poem, the heiress thirsting for a return to the glorious days of old Victoria, when the great and good ruled supreme and everyone knew their place. The poem begins with the speaker describing a number of the town’s residents. Oh to break loose, like the chinook salmon jumping and falling back, (…) to clear the top on the last try, alive enough to spawn and die. He was losing hope and faith. The alternative interpretation of Skunk Hour, according to one school of thought, is that each individual mentioned in the first part of the poem - the heiress, the millionaire and the decorator - represents a Lowell family member. It was the last poem in an important volume of poetry titled Life Studies, one of Lowell's most influential creations. Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject. Besides, there is also a hint of violence: A red fox stain covers ‘Blue Hill’. The season’s ill— we’ve lost our summer millionaire, who seemed to leap from an L. L. Bean catalogue. However they start to veer away from each other in their analysis of stanza five where there is an obvious shift in tone and direction. Steven Gould Axelrod and James E. B. Breslin's criticisms of Robert Lowell's “Skunk Hour” agree about the significance and meaning of the first four stanzas. Then he starts to describe the things that have begun to go wrong with the place – the millionaire who lived there for the summer is gone, the town decorator seems depressed and … Her son's a bishop. And that line about the graveyard is a powerful hint - the island's dead are looking in on this love-making too, just like the speaker. But when he himself reached the climax of frustration and depression, he one day, fortunately, learn the right lesson by looking at a skunk that is still living with full zeal an active and meaningful life, in its original and natural way. . Illness Lowell suffered from manic depression and was hospitalized many times throughout his adult life for this mental illness. It could be blood, it could be the sheen grass takes on at a certain time of year, which is known as fox stain. It was the last poem in an important volume of poetry titled Life Studies, one of Lowell's most influential creations. Note the full end-rhymes of the middle four lines, becoming tight couplets: the skunks are together. Michael Toolan's linguistically oriented stylistic analysis of "Skunk Hour" shares none of my phonological concerns. A love song, Careless Love, from the 1950s, is playing, with the lyrics "Now you see what careless love will do.../ Make you kill yourself and your sweetheart too.". 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