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'The Making of Americans?'

Gertrude Stein was an author of poetry, plays, narratives and novels. In the book “The Making of Americans”, she traces the history, genealogy and the psychological progress of members of the American society. She observed that the American society is exciting and very dynamic, also pointing out their nature of constantly changing. However, she believes that the societal changes tend to be very repetitive. In “The Making of Americans”, Stein stresses the pain and confusion in the world is as a consequence of failure of the people to understand entirely. She observes that Americans see themselves as well as their faults in other people. Consequently, almost everyone else is aggravated by their continual replication of mistakes and immolation of the lives of others. She notes that “It is often times irritating to hear of the repeating that they do” (Stein, 2012). However, she reiterate that this repetitive behavior only causes anguish to those who have not yet learned to accept the repetitive nature of their society’s existence.

According to “One Solid Month of Liberty,” what is the impact of liberty?

John Reed published different and sometimes very harsh criticisms of the powerful corporate world and against the actions of the government, most of which were available in the popular and often times controversial New York based magazine, The Masses. Reed’s poem “One Solid Month of Liberty,” chronicles the disturbing interlocking consequences of the form of “patriotic” mob justice coupled with governmental repression which swept across the nation in the blackest month free men have experienced in the current generation. The impact of liberty through the eyes of John Reed serves to remind the society that the first amendment protected only those who supported it and those who agreed that it held no value. Reed highlights that the law was an instrument for the good of the powerful with no constitutional safeguards that had the power to protect the powerless. The American public had no ability over the control of their own actions or that of the powerful where towns were burned and sacked, and black men and women were butchered.

The title “The Enormous Room” refers to the room Cummings was kept in while in prison abroad. It is    also a description of his mind. Discuss the excerpt from “The Enormous Room” as it relates to both a prison and the mind of the author.

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The title of the literature refers to the room Cummings slept in alongside about thirty other prisoners. The book is about the experiences of a young E. E. Cummings in France where he served as a volunteer in the Red Cross on the western front. However, his insubordinate and free spirited nature got him into trouble with the authorities and eventually kicked into the concentration camps in Normandy. Cummings finally discovered the fulfillment of freedom under the most despicable of conditions in prison. Cummings describes the numerous people that continue living in the enormous room. The room he refers to in the book is an allegory for his mind which is experiencing a journey in character. The tone that Cummings displays in this dip into the mind of an incarcerated individual reflects the important paradox of his existence. Throughout the experiences that Cummings explains, the central message he tries to pass along is that “losing everything is a path to freedom and a way to salvation” (Cummings, 2008).

Where are the “Desert places” by Robert Frost?

“Desert places” by Robert Frost tells the story of the narrator’s miserable feelings upon looking across a snow-covered field.  In the course of the poem, it becomes apparent that the immense emptiness of the landscape is a manifestation of the author’s own personal sense of loneliness and isolation.

The poem begins with the main character passing across an empty field surrounded by woods in the middle of a snowy evening.  The character sees “loneliness” across the field where only a few “weeds and stubble” are able to stick out from the snow on the ground. Throughout the poem, Frost repeatedly uses the word loneliness coupled with emptiness. The poem explores the concept of these two themes referring to both the physical exterior of a snow-covered field as well as the character’s personal feelings about himself.  The desert places refer to the emptiness he fills inside. The field manifests the human purpose for being while the weeds represent bareness, which is what the character feels inside.

What is the significance of Honoria’s name? What is the significance of the name of the bar Charlie frequents?

“Babylon revisited” is a book that tells the story of a once prominent and wealthy man, Charles Wales, who has endured the death of his wife Helen and after a struggle with alcoholism, has decided to return to Paris and fight for the custody of his daughter, Honoria, which he lost to his sister-in law. Honoria takes on meaning in more than a few levels. On the principle level, Wales wants to rebuild his life after years rigged with drunken actions; getting his daughter back is the first step towards this goal. Secondly, the name Honoria simply signifies what Charles is desperately trying to regain- his honor. Because of the similarity to the word honor, the reader is able to deduce that the fight for his daughter is symbolic to a bigger struggle, which is the restoration of the honor he lost during his initial time in Paris. Upon returning, the first place he visits is the Ritz Bar, which was frequent destination for his friends during his party days. The name of the bar holds significance in showing the ostentatious glamour and luxury that Charles was exposed to when he was prominent and wealth, and paints a picture of how much his star has fallen since then. Those who frequent the establishment were his friends and since he cannot find them anymore, it is implied that they faced the same unfortunate predicament he suffered.

In “A Pact” what is the pact?

From the poem “A Pact,” the reader gets the impression that the poet does not like Whitman’s traditional and detailed style. The poet, Pound, appreciated a more reserved and contemporary style even though most of his subject matter related to the French, Italian and Greek history. Whitman’s works was trying to create new American traditions while Pound was writing based on the more familiar, recognized and established American Traditions. Pound is now trying to forge a new “commerce” between the different styles. Walt “broke the wood” by establishing a foundation as a guide to his successors, allowing Pound to incorporate the new style into American poetry. Pound respects Whitman’s style and contribution to poetry and through “The pact” promises to honor his style through the request of some sort of relationship or “commerce” with Whitman.

Ignoring the title, what do the words of this poem describe? How does the title change your perception what the words describe?

The address to Whitman by Ezra Pound in the poem is one close to communication between father and son. The relationship that pound shares with his ancestors is rather competitive. Pound’s generation perceives the preceding generations as old and irrelevant. They however have a better relationship with them as they respect their views and traditions.

At first reading the poet sounds like a person who has studied Walt Whitman’s material for a long time and is trying to connect with his work even though he thinks of the poet as being irritating. One fails to gain an understanding why the author is trying to strike commerce” with a person he clearly loathes. However, on second and third read, one clearly understands what Pound means is trying to deliver. The reader’s initial perception of the title as a form of agreement is asserted when it is clear that the poet does not detest Whitman but rather is in awe of him.

What is “Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town” about? What is the significance of the seasons?

E. E. Cummings’ poem “Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town” is a story about a town and describes the lives of ordinary people who find love, get married then eventually die. The characters “anyone” and “noone" develop a close relationship and laughed and danced away their sorrows. The rest of the town did not seem to care about “anyone” and instead carried out their business with giving them a second thought. Cummings describes the life of close companions in an ostensibly oblivious town. The poem also tells of the mindlessness and repetition of some of the masses who live without change or emotion. The Poet creates the revolution of trudging along in a cycle through the inclusion of seasons in the poem that suggests life is a continuous and repetitive journey and majority of the people in town are exposed to a boring and cyclic sense of existence.

How old do you estimate Prufrock is? Why? What is he looking for?!

I believe that Prufrock is a middle-aged man who has a rare observation of his future. His perception of men in their old age is frail people wearing shirt-sleeves and always leaning out of windows. Prufrock is fearful he is going to end up like that.  Throughout the poem, Prufrock exhibits trivial worries such as his appearance in the coming years, including how his hair will look. Additionally, we notice Prufrock making decisions regarding his future through the repetition of the phrase “I shall” in the poem depicting such future behavior as how he is going to wear his trousers imitating the youth. These allusions imply that Prufrock is making some sort of effort to maintain his youth, get away from the middle-age bracket he is currently in, and avoid old age he is approaching. Prufrock is looking to stay young and is creating these allusions in his head in order to cope with the realities of middle-age.   

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