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, "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 to d*****appear into a realm of apparent reality. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing ***** qu*****e real or tangible but the skunks themselves and the notions ***** what should occur. ***** island's leading resident attempts to preserve a vanished 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 narra*****r tries to capture the spirit of ***** place; tries to live its many possibilities, but always fails. He cannot be what *****es not actually exist.

*****, alone in the moonlight, he watches the ***** - animals that are at once comb*****ations of other animals, mixtures of different lifestyles and goals. The skunks 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 ***** of Nautilus Island or face *****ing absorbed into ***** wasteland ***** intangibles. Neither this nor that, here nor there, Nautilus ***** is everything and everywhere. It is a hope built upon the past.

The real Nautilus Island ***** 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 the cold Atlantic swells, home perhaps to fisher folk or vacationers ***** other parts of the country. Still, the "hermit" of Nautilus ***** recalls another famous Nautilus ***** the marvelous submar*****e of Jules Verne's Captain Nemo. Nemo's Nautilus was a fantasy, a cre*****tion ***** ***** imagination. It possessed wondrous capacities f***** exploring the unknown depths of the sea. Lowell's ***** 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 the Island's chief *****, the "heiress" of ***** 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 ***** defending ***** 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 ***** of the ***** ***** too, on ***** rocky cliff tops of the Pelop*****nesus. ***** son, ***** heir, is a bishop, likewise ***** guardian of a "flock" of adherents. The farmer on her estate is ***** 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 is ***** the one "selected" to take the place


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