Analysis of The Cool Web, by Robert Graves

Essay by nhartUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2005

download word file, 7 pages 1.0

Downloaded 18 times

The Cool Web

Children are dumb to say how hot the day is,

How hot the scent is of the summer rose,

How dreadful the black wastes of the evening sky,

How dreadful the tall soldiers drumming by.

But we have speech, to chill the angry day,

And speech, to dull the rose's cruel scent.

We spell away the overhanging night,

We spell away the soldiers and the fright.

There's a cool web of language winds us in,

Retreat from too much joy or too much fear

We grow sea-green at last and coldly die

In brininess and volubility.

But if we let our tongues lose self-possession,

Throwing off language and its watery clasp

Before our death, instead of when death comes,

Facing the wide glare of the children's day,

Facing the rose, the dark sky and the drums,

We shall go mad no doubt and die that way.


Why is the title of the poem "The cool web"? Give a reason for your answer.

The poem discusses an adult's predisposition to use linguistic dexterity to avoid the consequences of extreme emotion.

The title combines two words, "cool" and "web", each of which evokes a strong impression, to create a third even more evocative image.

There are many English expressions which use the word "cool" to convey repressing emotion. This usage is similar to using "calm": "cool down", "don't lose your cool", "go and cool off", "cool it!" and so on. Even the slang interpretation of "cool" in the sense of fashionable or sophisticated conjures up the idea of a relaxed and casual attitude. In the context of the poem, "cool" can be seen as synonymous with a lack of passion and an increase of self-control.

"Web" is used to convey the sense of being enveloped by a layer...