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Analysis and comments on Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot

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Comment 14 of 134, added on May 1st, 2006 at 5:36 AM.

Ash Wednesday is a very interesting poem once you stop to think about all
the symbolism it actually portrays in each stanza. Eliot's use of
repetition and also the significance of colors are evident in this piece.
Although each section of the poem was different, each was conencted in some
way. I found it clever how he linked the first section to the second by
ending the first section with the use of words from the ending of the
prayer 'Hail Mary' and then go into the second section which describes a
woman which we can assume to be Mary, then finally in the fourth section
actually mention her name. I also noticed his use of contrasts and
contradictions in the poem. Profits and losses, birth and death, and of
course, darkness and light. I prefer this poem over 'The Wasteland.'

J Gollero from United States
Comment 13 of 134, added on May 1st, 2006 at 3:49 AM.

The most obvious aspect of this poem that stuck out in my mind was the
repetition that T.S. Eliot used. There was repetition of entire passages
like how he connected the first part of the poem to the last part. Also
there was the repetition of single words, homonyms, and alliterations. The
sound of the poem being read aloud was very lyrical and fluid despite the
poem having a depressing overtone.

T.S. Eliot uses a lot of symbolism for light and dark and the colors white
and blue.

In the poem it was easy to tell that there were a lot of religious
referneces to christianity. Ash Wednesday is a day for christians to
repent by getting ash rubbed into their forehead and recite a Litany of
Penance. It also marks the beginning of Lent. T.S. Eliot addresses these
topics and the topic of death. No matter what status or group a person
belongs to, one thing to remember is that every person is a sinner. The
"veiled women" must decide who she must pray for but i think that she was
included to remind everyone (or mainly christians) that God is merciful and
will not judge; instead, he will forgive as long as a person is willing to
repent during the forty days of Lent and starting with Ash Wednesday.
T.S. Eliot uses a lot of symbolism for light and dark and the colors white
and blue.

A. Cachero from Philippines
Comment 12 of 134, added on May 1st, 2006 at 4:04 AM.

This poem was very subliminal reading for me as I wasnt really able to
grasp what Elliot was trying to say. I think it was sort of prayer because
in section V the narrator hopes the veiled lady will pray for the children
and wonders what'll become of his people. other than that it seemed like it
was a lot of oxymorons put together like "teach us to care and not to

aus from United States
Comment 11 of 134, added on May 1st, 2006 at 4:04 AM.

This poem was very hard to comprehend. It had many references to the
Christian faith which I am not familiar with. Perhaps, if I were more
familiar with the faith and about Ash Wednesday, I would be able to
understand the poem. Certain parts sounded neat (with all the tongue
twisters and certain lines) but I think I missed the entire purpose of the

Tiffany Mima from United States
Comment 10 of 134, added on May 1st, 2006 at 3:50 AM.

It is interesting that the writing styles of this poem vary. Some lines are
long while others consist of two words, some are plainly stated while
others are drawn out, highly symbolic and chock full of allusions (which I
do not fully understand.) He also -in parallel to his other poem "The
Wasteland"- employed paragraphs in his writing. To say the least, I dont
understand this poem very well, regarding both his structure and the
content. I also feel like i'm missing some important lesson or being
oblivious to something intended to be amazing. A literary genius can't be
wrong, right? This is a poem I shall be revisiting.

Kelsey Kaneshiro from United States
Comment 9 of 134, added on April 30th, 2006 at 10:11 PM.

I had to re read this poem several times to try and comprehend its
meaning.. and I still haven't figured it out. I've noticed throughout the
poem there are lots of references to the Catholic/Christian faith, "Praying
to God" "Goign in white and blue, in Mary's colour" "The Garden." That's
pretty interesting, how he relates things to these subjects, but overall
this poem was kind of hard to understand.

John Paul Fukumae from United States
Comment 8 of 134, added on April 30th, 2006 at 2:29 AM.

This poem was still confusing for me, perhaps because i never quite
understood Eliot's other poem "the Wasteland." It's easier to read though,
because the language and the format of the words were not as jumpy and
nonsensical as "The Wasteland." It seems as if the narrator in this poem
is thinking about his life, and of someone who seems greater than him -- a
woman -- who he wants but is hopeless for. It also seems that he's praying
to God for help, so that he can perhaps overcome his fear, and
unworthiness, but fears that he will never be heard. This poem is much
less "out of this world" as other poems I've read. I'm sorry if I totally
missed the real point of this poem!!

Stacy Koyama from United States
Comment 7 of 134, added on April 30th, 2006 at 12:47 AM.

Compared to "The Wasteland," this poems was easier to read because it
wasn't as allusive. When I read this poem, I was able to recognize some of
the allusions. For example, the last two lines in the first poem are from
a prayer. It's like "Hail Mary full of grace.........pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death." Although I did have some difficulty in
reading and comprehending the poem as a whole, I was still able to decipher
some of the things that were said. Overall this poem was pretty
interesting especially since it had some hinting of the Catholic religion
in it.

Jose Barbasa from United States
Comment 6 of 134, added on April 22nd, 2006 at 8:35 AM.

Bound in willow and weeping walls,
No hands to see, no eyes to touch, no lips to kiss
No eternity and no finality
The unstilled world is whirling still.

This is the first stanza of a poem yet to find finality. I have just read
Ash Wednesday after appropriating and reconstructing this last line without
consideration of the source. The themetic and textual cadences have an
uncanny resemblance to my own humble imaginings. The sacred, the ineffable
and the transcendent are the portals, the limpid pools of reflecting
waters, that allow us to see the infinite and finite as belonging to the
world of dreams and the world that dreams of seperation.

david j. from Canada
Comment 5 of 134, added on March 9th, 2006 at 12:30 PM.

I'm only 16 and don't really know that much about early 1900's poems or
writing styles, but I loved "Ash Wednesday". The only thing that I didn't
like was that it seemed to be a bit depressing. I did like, however, that
it seemed to fit my mood.

Heather from United States

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Information about Ash Wednesday

Poet: T.S. Eliot
Poem: Ash Wednesday
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 2946 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 30 2010

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