Rhapsody on a windy night

Essay by megmorgHigh School, 12th grade October 2014

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Rhapsody (praise something/excessively enthusiastic expression/composition in music that is free/irregular) on a Windy Night - T.S.Eliot (modernist; playing with time/form/structure)

Profound tragedy/suffering

Society bleak/dispassionately regarded/filled with soullessness/lifeless characters who impose their own exile through their incapability of communication under the pressure and scrutiny of their own memory, represented as a type of phantom in the poem, who overhangs them like a ghost however the moon is an exception, clinging desperately to the image of life "the moon holds no grudge"

Free verse

Title reflects poem's form; rhapsody is irregular/unstructured

Poem starts jumbled/juxtaposed images (midnight / street lamp / lunar) in lines of irregular length with no rhyme/repetition

Irony; "rhapsody" suggests mood of enthusiasm/frenzy not conveyed by poem itself; creating suspense, tragedy and anti-climax in poem

Situation potentially romantic (midnight stroll) - actually dominated by decay/isolation/despair

Only connotations of wind "sputtered" despite emphasis in title


Title and context

Childlike innocence and filth/decay; stanza 4

Light of street light and midnight; stanza 1

"Twelve o'clock" - symbolises connotations of "lunar"

"lunar" - mystery/ambiguity

"madman" - protagonist's first human encounter is madman/social outcast

"dead geranium" - very dark tone; difficult to kill a geranium yet geranium is dead in poem / awkward imagery portrays theme in which memory unpredictably resurfaces for persona - decaying society

"twists like a crooked pin" - negative simile

"throws up" - sick?

"twisted" / "twisted" - insane/dark?

"as if the world gave up"

stroller giving up on world/life

seeing the place a whole new way; the last way he will see it

"the secret of it's skeleton, stiff and white" - body channels sensation from past experiences

"Rust that clings" - symbolises that the protagonist's mind is so full of bitter memories he cannot endure it any longer/is ready to break resilience; hence touching up on theme...