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

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***** 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 location where dreams of reality seem to d*****appear into a realm ***** apparent reality. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing ***** quite real or tangible but the skunks themselves and the notions of what should occur. The isl*****'s leading resident attempts to preserve a v*****nished w*****ld, as do the fishermen. The hill is a lover's l*****ne - a pl*****ce of romantic imaginings - yet it is also a graveyard ***** van*****hed hopes. Nautilus Island is a world of opposites. The poem's n*****rrator tries to capture the spirit ***** the place; tries ***** live its many possibilities, but always fails. He cannot be what *****es not actually exist.

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

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


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