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

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Robert Lowell's "The Skunk Hour"

Robert Lowell's poem, "The 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 *****to a re*****lm ***** apparent reality. Nothing is as it *****s. Nothing ***** quite real or tangible but the skunks themselves ***** the notions of what should occur. ***** island's leading resident attempts to preserve a v*****nished world, as do the fishermen. The hill is a lover's lane - a ***** of rom*****ntic imaginings - yet it is also a gr*****veyard of van*****hed hopes. Nautilus Island is a world ***** opposites. The poem's narrator tries to capture the spirit of ***** place; tries ***** live its many possibilities, but always fails. He cannot be what ********** not actually exist.

*****, alone in the moonlight, he watches the ***** - animals that are at once comb*****ations ***** 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 same. He must discover the ***** of Nautilus Island or face *****ing absorbed into ***** wasteland ***** intangibles. Nei*****r this nor that, here ***** t*****, Nautilus Island is everything and every*****. It is a hope built upon the past.

The real Nautilus ***** ***** a sm*****ll island off the coast of Maine in Penobscot Bay. Its geographical *****ity is that ***** most Maine *****lets - a small rocky patch set in ***** cold Atlantic swells, home perhaps to fisher folk or vacationers ***** other parts of the country. Still, ***** "hermit" of Nautilus Island recalls another famous Nautilus - the marvelous submarine 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. Lowell's ***** also permits the reader to explore the realms ***** imagination. It, too, is a vessel into the ***** *****nd the often improbable. The first line also introduces the Island's chief resident, ***** "heiress" of the second line. The heiress, a wom*****n ***** wealth, lives in a "Spartan cottage" ***** another sign of incongruity. Nevertheless, the Spartans were a highly disciplined people. They org*****nized their society around the dream of defending their homeland against all outside forces, much as *****es the heiress. "Her sheep still graze above the *****" - yes, no doubt as those of her ancestors did, and those of the Spartans ***** *****, on the rocky cliff tops of the Pelop*****nesus. Her son, her heir, is a b*****hop, likewise ***** 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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