Thesis edgar lee masters


Introduction and Text of Poem,

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Although quite prolific as a writer of poetry, drama, essays and novels, the work for which Edgar Lee Masters has always been known and likely will always be known is his collection of more poems titled Spoon River Anthology. The town has good people and bad people and secrets of people thought good who may have actually have been bad and bad people who regret that they could not have died having something good.

Although the deceased often fill in a gap or contradict a story told by another and though the collapse of the bank is an event which touches upon enough of the citizens to act as a kind of unifying force for a generation, each individual occupant of a grave dug into the earth in the cemetery tells a story that is unique and not dependent upon others to create meaning. Some of the stories told by others may lend contextual clues or help to identify a subtext, but Spoon River Anthology is truly an anthology of poetic memoirs in which none are deemed more important than any other and all can independently co-exist without the necessity of any specific story told by another.

There is the silence of defeat. There is the silence of those unjustly punished; And the silence of the dying whose hand Suddenly grips yours.

Extract of sample "Poetry Explication: Edgar Lee Masters Lucinda Matlock and Seth Compton"

There is the silence between father and son, When the father cannot explain his life, Even though he be misunderstood for it. There is the silence that comes between husband and wife. There is the silence of those who have failed; And the vast silence that covers Broken nations and vanquished leaders. There is the silence of Lincoln, Thinking of the poverty of his youth. And the silence of Napoleon After Waterloo. And the silence of Jeanne d'Arc Saying amid the flames, "Blessed Jesus" — Revealing in two words all sorrows, all hope.

And there is the silence of age, Too full of wisdom for the tongue to utter it In words intelligible to those who have not lived The great range of life. And there is the silence of the dead. If we who are in life cannot speak Of profound experiences, Why do you marvel that the dead Do not tell you of death? Their silence shall be interpreted As we approach them. The speaker asserts that he has "known the silence of the stars and of the sea. Everyone on planet Earth experiences at all times the "silence of the stars," and there is no "the silence of the sea.

When has any star ever communicated a sound to any individual? While the "sea" as one stands on the shore does make crashing wave sounds, those sounds never cease. Thus the speaker's claim is false on both counts. He cannot have known silence of the stars as a unique experience different from anyone else on the planet, and he cannot have known silence of the sea, because the sea is never without the crashing the waves.

Even if the speaker has spent time far from the shore, he would have had to be in a vessel, at the sides of which the waves would then be continuously lapping and producing sounds. The other claims for experiencing silence are relatively benign: he has known "silence" of the city as it "pauses. Then the speaker offers other instances of "silence" that he sas known: one assumes he is referring to the inability of a couple to communicate when he says, "the silence of a man and a maid," or that he has sat with an ill individual who is not speaking, and he had nothing to offer.

The speaker then absurdly provides the image of an animal out in the field moaning "a few times" at the loss of its offspring. This image accompanies another stab at philosophical, conclusive truth that in the face of "realities," humans remain voiceless and unable to speak. But even the beast of the field can only moan. So where does that leave us? Take away: In the face of sorrow, just moan a few times? Now the speaker is prepared to offer some narrative to exemplify his assertions regarding the inability of humans to speak when realities bump up against them.

A boy has inquired of "an old soldier" how the old man lost his leg. Sure enough, the old soldier is unable to speak. He is "struck" by "silence.

But instead of revealing the details of losing his leg in war, the old soldier tells the boy, "A bear bit it off. The speaker reckons that in order for the old soldier to describe to the boy what actually happened to him losing his leg in war, he would have to be "an artist. The junk philosophy of this speaker continues to dig and sink his claims into a deep hole of absurdity.


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Not exactly a reader of minds, this one, but possessing the supercilious ability to pile image on image in services of philosophical swill. The speaker now catalogues a group of silences that remain rather abstract, such as the silence of "great hatred," "great love," "embittered friendship," "defeat," and the "unjustly punished.

The soul coming into the "realm of higher life" sounds like a truly profound experience, but that the soul must come to that realm through exquisite torture and with "visions" that cannot be uttered blurs the meaning of such an experience.

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The soul is pure, yet the mind and physical encasement do torture the soul, when they remain in defiance of spiritual understanding of the laws that reign on the spiritual level of being. While that statement regarding the soul and the "higher life" remain somewhat accurate, they do not really impart any substantive information.

In other words, what the speaker has experienced causing him to impart this abstract image remains uneluciated by that semi-accurate statement. The speaker now is becoming a bit repetitive as he mentions the "silence that comes between husband and wife," without further explanation. He then returns to cataloguing of abstract concepts: "those who have failed," "broken nations and vanquished leaders," a bit less abstract, but then he brings in Lincoln, Napoleon, Joan of Arc, who uttered, "Blessed Jesus," among the flames that took her life.

The speaker then claims pathetically that those two words, incorporated "all sorrows, all hope. The speaker then moves on the "silence of age. Finally, the speaker addresses the "silence of the dead. We all know that dead people have stopped talking, along with walking, eating, laughing, and any other activity that living people perform.

Example research essay topic: Edgar Lee Masters American Dream - 759 words

The speaker's likening the fact that the living cannot speak should make it less unclear that the dead do not speak: both groups do not speak because the communication of "profound experiences" remains impossible, according to the thesis of this treatise. Thus, the dead do not cease to speak because they are dead, they simply join the living in their inability to explain their inner most thoughts, that is, those profound thoughts that must remain unsaid, like the old soldier who claimed this leg was bitten off by a bear because he could not bring himself to communicate to a mere boy his war experience.

James Miles, an Englishman who moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, in , is the narrator and main character in Children of the Market Place. Soon after taking over his father's estate, Miles meets budding young lawyer and politician Stephen A. After his first conversation with Douglas, Miles is left "enthralled" and convinced that Douglas's vision for the growth and development of the burgeoning republic qualifies him as a "world thinker.


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  8. When Douglas runs for Congress, Miles campaigns on his behalf. Douglas is a frequent guest at the Miles home, and he comes to rely upon Douglas for counsel in his personal affairs. Douglas attends the wedding of Miles, and Miles is present when Douglas delivers his maiden address in the U. The admiration for Douglas that Miles expresses throughout the novel is boundless.

    The Hill - Edgar Lee Masters (w/ music by David Grubbs)

    He refers to Douglas as a "super-man" and "the ideal man. The novel spans more than three decades of history in Illinois, yet Abraham Lincoln does not make his first appearance until nearly four hundred pages into the story. After a two-year sojourn in Italy, Miles returns to Illinois just in time to witness the last debate between Lincoln and Douglas during the campaign for the U. Before departing for the debate at Alton, he reads all of the newspapers and is very impressed with the valiant battle Douglas has been waging against both the Buchanan administration and the Republicans.

    Despite being a resident of Illinois since , Miles has never heard of Lincoln. When Miles arrives in Alton and sees Lincoln for the first time, he is not impressed. He observes that he "had never seen a man so absurd. Much to the surprise of Miles, Lincoln was able to rise "to great heights of eloquence" in spite of those physical limitations. Although Miles comes away from the Lincoln-Douglas debate with the impression that a "a divine grace permeated his [Lincoln's] being," it is Douglas who, in his words, is the "martyr.

    Douglas is the man of true principles, and yet Lincoln wins election to the presidency because his party, the recently organized Republicans, was able to cobble together enough "contemptible factions" to defeat the Little Giant. When Miles learns of Douglas's defeat, he falls into the deepest depression of his life.

    After the election, Miles travels to Washington in order to witness Lincoln's inauguration. He is struck by Lincoln's ability to use the English language and believes Lincoln "kindred to the greatest souls.

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