Essay - Literature Robert Lowell's 'The Skunk Hour' Robert Lowell's Poem, 'The...


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Literature

***** Lowell's "The Skunk Hour"

Robert Lowell's poem, "***** Skunk *****," written in 1959, captures a time when two different worlds appear to collide. Nautilus Island is a place of both past and present, a loc*****tion where dreams of reality seem to d*****appear into a re*****lm ***** apparent reality. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing is quite real or tangible but the skunks themselves ***** the notions of what should occur. The island's leading resident attempts to preserve a v*****nished world, as do the fishermen. The hill is a lover's lane - a ***** of romantic imaginings - yet it is also a gr*****veyard of vanished hopes. Nautilus Island is a ***** ***** opposites. The poem's n*****rra*****r tries to capture the spirit of the place; tries ***** live its many possibilities, but always fails. He cannot be ***** ********** not actually exist.

So, alone in the moonlight, he watches the skunks - animals that are at once comb*****ations of other *****, mixtures ***** different lifestyles and goals. ***** ***** scavenge, taking what they need from the leavings of others, and raising their young to do the same. The narrator, to survive, must do the *****. ***** must discover the reality of Nautilus ***** or face *****ing absorbed into ***** wasteland ***** intangibles. Neither this nor that, here ***** there, Nautilus Island is everything and everywhere. It is a hope built upon the past.

The real Nautilus ***** is a small island off the coast of Maine in Penobscot Bay. Its geographical reality is that of most Ma*****e *****lets - a small rocky patch set in ***** cold Atlantic swells, home perhaps to fisher folk or vacationers from other parts ***** the country. Still, ***** "hermit" of Nautilus Island recalls another famous ***** - the marvelous submar*****e of Jules Verne's Captain Nemo. Nemo's Nautilus was a f*****ntasy, a creation of Verne's imagination. It possessed wondrous capacities for exploring the unknown depths of the sea. ***** Nautilus also permits the reader to explore the realms of *****. It, too, is a vessel into the ***** *****nd the often improbable. The first line also introduces ***** Island's chief *****, the "heiress" of the second line. The heiress, a wom*****n of wealth, lives in a "Spartan cottage" - another sign of incongruity. Nevertheless, the Spartans were a highly disciplined people. They organized their society around the dream of defending ***** homeland against all outside forces, much as *****es the heiress. "Her sheep still graze above ***** sea" - yes, no doubt as those of her ancestors did, and ***** of the ***** ***** too, on ***** rocky cliff tops of the Peloponnesus. ***** son, her heir, is a bishop, likewise the guardian of a "flock" of adherents. The farmer on her estate is ***** selectman in the *****'s village. This places him in a position of authority. Selectman is an old New England title for a town councilor - ***** example of tradition. He is also the one "selected" to take ***** place

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