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Analysis and comments on Gerontion by T.S. Eliot

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Comment 20 of 120, added on February 14th, 2011 at 4:48 AM.

Curiosity comes on my mind about Gerontion...I just wanna know the full
appreciation about Gerontion. Will u help me...???

Mamunalpha from Bangladesh
Comment 19 of 120, added on July 20th, 2010 at 11:18 AM.
These Kids

I really wish all these kids that had to do projects on poetry would go to
Facebook or something to complain. I’m sick of looking for actual analysis,
and having to sift through ‘omg im soooo bored this poem sucks it don’t
make sense!!11!1’. Seriously, that’s why they invented Facebook is to get
this crap away from these sites and where it belongs. No one here cares if
you’re bored and you have to do a project, so go say it on Facebook.

jack from United States
Comment 18 of 120, added on January 30th, 2010 at 4:06 PM.

I Gerontion is one of the most loved poems in Eglish literature.It is a
poem by T.S.Eliot .

"Gerontion" is a poem by T. S. Eliot that was first published in 1920. The
work relates the opinions and impressions of a gerontic, or elderly man
through a dramatic monologue which describes Europe after World
adulterated. Thispoem ends with words that convey a defeated man, in....War
I through the eyes of a man who has lived the majority of his life in the
19th Century. .[1] Eliot considered using this already published poem as a
preface to The Waste Land, but decided to keep it as an independent
poem.[2] Along with The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Waste Land,
and other works published by Eliot in the early part of his career,
Gerontion discusses themes of religion, sexuality, and other general topics
of Modernist poetry.I think the poem itself has more interpretion within
the title of it.To be analysed.it needs succesful poit like Eliot himself
to explain its unclear and clear interpretations.

Tariq from Yemen
Comment 17 of 120, added on January 13th, 2010 at 1:32 PM.

poetry gets boring when it is overcomplicated, just like in this case. what
we agree upon or disagree with is decided by what explanations we get from
other sources. what a waste....

shubho from India
Comment 16 of 120, added on March 4th, 2009 at 2:56 PM.

I agree with that last comment; both ways of interpreting are valid and I
believe necessary. But I do believe that as you seriously analyze a work,
you should fully understand both the allusions, and the author. I think,
especially concerning Eliot, understanding the time [period], knowing the
authors life, and understanding his beliefs and purposes are absolutely
necessary to analyzing a work. For Eliot and his peers, the ideas of
modernistic thought were fascinating. Also Eliot was not irreverently
relgious, but had sincere faith. Many of the accusations that he was
anti-semitic or even irrevent toward his own faith can easily be disposed
of in understanding the crisis and peaceful necessity of faith to any
believer. Gerontion is entirely a poem about that crisis and peace imbedded
in faith, and while it deals with many concepts, it returns to being
"thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season". Eliot also borrows much from
other belief systems: Eliot was a christian but he was mentored by Pound
who had a fascination with Eastern thought, and as he Eliot worked so
closely together, his influence ought be calculated. There is a great
necessity of affectation in analyzing Eliot's poetry, because as a
modernist and for runner of post-modernism, Eliot inadvertantly felt a huge
conciousness of individual perception and experience, which subsequently
underscores his work. Eliot also toyed with Gerontion as a prelude to The
Wasteland, and as I believe can be noted with many of his noteable works,
there are clear connections between Gerontion and the Wasteland. Also as
one embarks into Gerontion, the importance of words in and of themselves
should be accopunted for; as he notes "the word within a word", and so
understanding origins and etymologies of certain words is a necessity, as
knowing their functions in various cultures and their place in ours today.
Is it any accident that Eliot is devored by Christ the Tiger? Not lion, as
so often the association goes- to continue the parallel of Isreal (God's
chosen nation) as a lion. Eliot dissociates Christ from Isreal, as he was
dissociated from his family and people. Also by no accident, a tiger and
goat have thier place on the chinese zodiac. The modernist/postmodernist
trick is the merging of so many thoughts and concepts, as "these tears are
shaken from the warth-bearing tree"(could it be the cross, connecting to
the tree of knowledge, as referenced in "after such knowledge, what
forgiveness?")- or as experience kills us, according to the "backward
devils" (possibly the hypocrites and leaders of all which is orthadox?).
Experience is vital to Eliot's work; as he meets you with all he is and all
he's got, so you must meet him in the same way. So much more could be said,
but I'll save it for another time.

Ashley from United States
Comment 15 of 120, added on August 6th, 2008 at 1:41 PM.

I can't help but think that there is a third option whilst reading this
poem- why say you either have to read it in terms of its allusions, or not
in terms of its allusions, when you could do both? Eliot himself said (and
I'm kicking myself to remember where I read the quotation..) that if you
read the poem, and enjoy it purely for the poem's sake, then that is
enough. But if you want to continue on the journey it suggests, to enjoy
the allusions it makes and experience the poem as a combination of all
these, then it makes for a richer reading. He also thought (from what I
read, anyway) that we should build on the thought of those who have gone
before us. I think his allusions are his way of doing that- because how can
you expect to think anything new if you are unaware of what has gone before
you? To quote eliot on the matter:

'Our civilisation comprehends great variety and complexity, and this
variety and complexity, playing upon a refined sensibility, must produce
various and complex results. The poet must become more and more
comprehensive, more allusive, more indirect, in order to force, to dislcate
if necessary language into his meaning.'

So to me, it works both ways. Reading it for the first time, I appreciate

'In depraved May, dogwood and chestnut, flowering judas,
To be eaten, to be divided, to be drunk
Among whispers'

My first idea of them was of the secrecy of whispers and the notion of
decay sprang to mind in the invasive 'eaten', 'divided', and 'drunk'. But I
enjoyed it even more when I realised it was a reference to communion, and
the breaking of the bread- it puts a different spin on the meaning of the
line, and enhanced my ideas about it.

So why do it either way, when you could do it both?!

Thanks also to Gerry Poster for his inspired and inspiring approach to
reading Eliot. It has grounded me again- an invaluable lesson.

Ness Q from Ireland
Comment 14 of 120, added on February 27th, 2007 at 8:23 AM.

gerontion must to be according to me emblèmatic of the life of modern man
who is powerless in front of the ordeals of the existence and whose appeal
to love religion and history for salvation is vain.

dièye from Senegal
Comment 13 of 120, added on January 10th, 2007 at 4:31 PM.

this poem is his worst i reckon. He well over complicates things. I think
he needs to geta job and stop whining, the tramp. mind you, prufrock is
well banging and rhapsody is pretty good, but gerontion - baa! its poor. i
mean, he just completely rattles on about crap that doesnt make any sense.
id rather watch the film gerontion by Jo King. omg im so bored. this is how
bored i am. this is the way the world ends (not with a bang but a massive
great KEFF). Eliot 4eva
love me
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
ps im well gonna fail my modular exam next week haha oh well maybe if i
revised instead of completely dissing the E to the Eliot. luv ya xx

rosie from United Kingdom
Comment 12 of 120, added on May 31st, 2006 at 5:59 AM.

Gerontion,'a representative human consciousness',is a character in a
dramatic situation.Not being a poet's personality,he is the means whereby
the poet effects 'an escape from personality'and the poem may,
therefore,only be interpreted when its terms are related to the
character,Gerontion,rather than to the poet himself. - Nikhilesh
Dhar, Bankura,India.

Nikhilesh Dhar from India
Comment 11 of 120, added on April 11th, 2006 at 5:24 PM.

It is a pleasure to read the comments on this site. For five years I taught
this poem as part of courses in [then] modern poetry at Clemson, a state
school in the United States, and the US Naval Academy. I traded the
academic world for the life of a business trainer in part because in much
of academia there is less interest in actually "learning" than there is in
the world of websites like this one.

As several postings here suggest, Eliot is demanding, but not difficult. He
was influenced by his friend Ezra Pound ["il miglior fabbro"--"the better
maker"--in the dedication to _The Waste Land_]; Pound intentionally made
his poetry inaccesible to people he felt beneath him. Eliot, especially in
his notes to _Waste Land_, tried to do the same, but his essentially
democratic and catholic (both with lower-case letters) inclinations
overcame him before and after that central work. Unlike Pound, Eliot wants
readers to understand him, and unlike Pound he also has a relatively
straightforward message to express that, despite a great deal of
intelligent artistic and psychological enhancement, is readily accessible
to most readers. Several postings in this sequence have identified some of
them. I suggest a single additional step for those who want to appreciate
"Gerontion," as well as the rest of the Eliot canon and much other poetry.

This step requires a very small step backwards in order to advance. Simply
stated, it is this: think of a work of art--any work of art--as an _opera_
in the literal sense of the word: a collection of individual "opuses" (that
word is a barbarism). "Opus" means "work"; the plural, "opera," means
"several works, presumably acting as a whole."

So, if you listen to the opera _Boris Godunov_, you will react emotionally
and intellectually to the whole collection of music, drama, costumes and
text before you begin worrying about the actual relationship between Poland
and Russia, or the Orthodox Church and political strategy. In other words,
you will start with the whole and then--once you have formed an
opinion--you will look at its components.

Similarly, if you go to the Rijksmuseum and look at what is called _The
Night Watch_ you won't start by evaluating the details of the little girl
in the yellow dress in the middle of the picture. Instead, you will respond
to the painting as a whole, look at the armament, faces and body language,
and form an opinion about Rembrandt's depiction of a state and a time. That
is the _opera_--the painting as a whole. Later you can consider what that
rooster is doing in the girl's hands. That's an opus, or a detail.

One should approach a poem the same way. Read the whole thing very fast.
Don't stop to anguish over a word or even a phrase. When you do that with
"Gerontion," you get what several postings here have noted: regret, age,
sorrow over bad choices.

But the poet, like the painter or the composer, didn't stop with large
broad areas of art. There are many small details--after all, Marina in
_Boris_ _is_ caught up in the center of the conflict between power,
ambition, the Church, Poland and Russia, and Mussorgsky uses that to speak
to the human conditions of ambition and obligation. The mascot of the armed
patrol in _The Night Watch_ really does have something to say about the
community, the family and the vigilantes [not a bad word] that protect them
both. Likewise, Eliot is suggesting things about history, choices, and
outcomes that people of all ages--especially the young, whose choices lie
before them--need to consider. But, for the love of all that is holy (which
many would say includes art), don't get caught up in scholarly exegeses
about textual subtleties in this or any other poem. Not now, at least. Just
read it. Again. And then again. And then again, this time aloud. Listen to
the sounds; hisses are not the same as murmurs. Good poets are musicians.

Trust your instincts. A recent study (Griffiths and Tenenbaum, published in
_Pyschological Science_) demonstrates what common sense knew all along:
most people's reactions lead to reliable conclusions. If yours don't, you
will realize that you need to reassess your core beliefs, and that's useful
knowledge, too.

What will that tell you about "Gerontion"? Much more is going on there than
the immediately obvious, but the obvious opera forms the matrix in which
the detailed messages occur. Just listen to it--ask what it means to say
about giving, for example. And if you want to become a scholar, just read
_The Waste Land_, _Ash Wednesday,_ and the _Four Quartets_ and look for
that word and see where it leads you. Do the same with other words and
phrases; ask what Christ is doing in these poems, or simply search for
words you don't know, look them up and ask what they're doing there. This
is the poet's equivalent of a B flat, or Naples yellow. If you take the
time to do this, you will enrich yourself--and, as Griffiths and Tenenbaum
demonstrate, you also will become more "successful" (however you define
that) in the rest of your life as well.

Best wishes from a stranger who loves those who learn.

Gerry Poster from United States

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Information about Gerontion

Poet: T.S. Eliot
Poem: 1. Gerontion
Volume: Poems
Year: 1920
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 542 times

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