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, "The Skunk Hour," 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 ***** disappear *****to a realm of apparent reality. Nothing is as it *****s. Nothing is qu*****e real or tangible but the skunks themselves and the notions ***** what should occur. ***** isl*****'s leading resident attempts to preserve a vanished w*****ld, as do the fishermen. The hill is a lover's l*****ne - a ***** of romantic imaginings - yet it is also a graveyard ***** vanished hopes. ***** Island is a world of opposites. The poem's narra*****r tries to capture the spirit of ***** 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 ***** the *****. He must discover the ***** of Nautilus Island or face being absorbed into its wasteland of intangibles. Nei*****r this nor that, here ***** there, 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 Ma*****e islets - 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 ***** - the marvelous submarine of Jules Verne's Captain Nemo. Nemo's Nautilus was a fantasy, a creation of ***** imagination. It possessed wondrous capacities for exploring the unknown depths of the sea. Lowell's Nautilus also permits the reader to explore the realms ***** imagination. It, too, is a vessel into the unknown *****nd the often improbable. The first line also introduces ***** Island's chief resident, the "heiress" of ***** second line. The heiress, a woman ***** wealth, lives in a "Sp*****rtan cottage" ***** another sign of incongruity. Nevertheless, the Spartans were a highly disciplined people. They organized their society around the dream ***** defending ***** homeland against all outside forces, much as does the heiress. "Her sheep still graze above ***** *****" - yes, no doubt ***** those of her ancestors did, and ***** of the ***** ***** too, on ***** rocky cliff tops of the Pelop*****nesus. Her son, her heir, is a b*****hop, likewise ***** guardian of a "flock" of ad*****ents. The farmer on her estate is first selectman in the *****'s village. Th***** places him in a position of authority. Selectman is an old New England title for a town councilor - ***** example of tradition. He ***** also the one "selected" to take the place

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