Obviously I point out the agon in the poem because conflict is inherently dramatic. Diana Sent from my iPod On Feb 22, 2010, at 7:51 AM, Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > Dear Nancy, > > The noun "Gerontion" I read as a synonym for "growing old" -- the > title describes the theme. So being changed is the action -- > although the speaker is passive, he does not remain the same. As you > say this is far from classical drama. The agon is between the > speaker and time that changes him and brings death, but he also > suffers from disgust with himself, an internal agon. I'm reminded of > a line in a William Carlos Williams poem: "I have pissed my life." > > This is not a big insight; the conflicts are not difficult to > identify. But it's necessary to note them. > > Best, > > Diana > > Sent from my iPod > > On Feb 21, 2010, at 6:07 PM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > >> Dear Diana, >> >> I agree with everything here, but none of it comprises "a classical >> dramatic arc." That is the point I have tried to make. I also do >> not think time is an antagonist if the speaker never struggles >> against it as, for example, Prufrock tries to in the first >> section. Gerontion just sits, and he seems never to have done >> otherwise. The sheer fact of time and its impact is so constant in >> all Eliot that it can easily be pointed to as the source of despair >> and loss. But that is not, in itself, a dramatic event. Otherwise >> there would be no way to distinguish the dramatic from any lyric- >> voice poem about time. Think of all those Elizabethan sonnets >> bemoaning time's destruction. Are they, then, all classical drama? >> Cheers, >> Nancy >> >> >>> Diana Manister 02/21/10 5:58 PM >>> >> Dear Nancy, >> >> Dear Nancy, >> >> The passage of time decays the house, brings darkness, death, and >> so on, as you are well aware. Time's tenses are a prominent feature >> of the poem's language: simple past, conditional future ("to be >> eaten"), ongoing present ("she gives when" implies "she always >> gives when"). >> >> Time twists through the poem in many convolutions. Every image in >> some way reflects time's effects. >> >> I'm not sure there that conflict doesn't drive the lines >> implicitly. Eliot himself said an emotion can exert pressure on a >> poem from underneath, without being made explicit. >> >> The tiger is not time; it's the escape from time, don't you think? >> Sometimes when I read the line it seems the speaker is looking to >> the tiger for release, that being devoured by the tiger would be >> welcome. >> >> It's very rich in implications, as Eliot's work always is. I don't >> see it as lacking an agon. >> >> Diana >> >> Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 17:36:22 -0500 >> From: [log in to unmask] >> Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' >> To: [log in to unmask] >> >> Yes, it is full of passive voice. And that is passivity. He does >> nothing. I do not see time as a force here against which he >> struggles. My point is that drama requires a protagonist and >> antagonist--whether inner or outer. If one is passive and never >> struggles, there is no drama in any traditional sense. There is >> futility. How do you see a connection between the passive voice >> and some active principle of time? Time does not act; it is. But >> even if history is a series of actions, Gerontion did not struggle, >> by his own claim--whatever "we" may or may not do. >> >> Eliot was not very old when he wrote all those poems about being >> old and empty--like Prufrock and the old man in "Dans le >> Restaurant," and many of them in IMH. Interestingly, there is >> intense drama in Sweeney Agonistes. And in a different way in >> "Portrait of a Lady." Even, internally, in "Prufrock," who, like >> Hamlet, questions and imagines alternatives and is anguished about >> what to do (even if he is not Hamlet in any sense of importance), >> in the first section. After the middle lines, the tense is past, >> and he ceases to think in terms of change. >> Nancy >> >>> Diana Manister 02/21/10 5:21 PM >>> >> Dear Nancy, >> >> >> >> The poem is rife with passive voice. The gerontological allusions >> enlarge the passivity to the scale of a lifetime, >> >> and its end. History is a function of time, so time is the active >> principle in the poem, against which we struggle in futility. >> >> >> >> Some of the poem's passive phrases follow: >> >> >> >> Being read to, waiting, My house is a decayed house, Swaddled with >> darkness, >> >> To be eaten, to be divided, to be drunk, >> >> The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours. >> >> And an old man driven by the Trades To a sleepy corner. >> >> History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors >> >> And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, >> >> Guides us by vanities >> >> She gives when our attention is distracted >> >> >> >> Eliot was not an old man when he wrote the poem, which lends a rich >> ambiguity to his meanings. >> >> >> >> Diana >> >> >> >> >> >> >> Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 12:57:26 -0500 >> From: [log in to unmask] >> Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' >> To: [log in to unmask] >> >> >> >> Dear Diana, >> >> It is clearly a lack of willed action, but what specific acting >> upon? Unless one means the appearance of Christ the tiger, I'm not >> sure what he claims acted on him--history perhaps, but then he only >> obsesses over its confusions; he shows no sign of having tried to >> affect it. >> Cheers, >> Nancy >> >> >>> Diana Manister 02/21/10 12:44 PM >>> >> Dear Nancy, >> >> Gerontion is acted upon, wouldn't you say? The poem describes not >> an absence of action, but rather a lack of willed action. >> >> Diana >> >> Sent from my iPod >> >> On Feb 21, 2010, at 11:11 AM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >> >> I already said that. There is no such arc in "Gerontion." >> >> >>> Peter Montgomery 02/21/10 5:11 AM >>> >> If there is conflict, then there is drama, whether it be internal >> or external or both. >> >> P. >> ----- Original Message ----- >> From: Nancy Gish >> To: [log in to unmask] >> Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 9:27 PM >> Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- the dramatic arc >> >> I do not understand how this can be a "classical dramatic >> structure" when it states the opposite. That structure is a >> description of an action: it refers to plot. And the central point >> Gerontion describes is precisely that he has not acted. He was not >> at the hot gates; he is old and simply waiting. He says "we have >> not reached conclusion" [i.e., no climax or denoument]. He speaks >> only of endless "small deliberations"--thoughts of a dry brain in a >> dry season." Classical drama is about acting and its >> consequences. There is no action depicted in the lines you quote. >> >> When Eliot turned to drama--even in the early Sweeney Agonistes--he >> showed actions. I do not see the point of what you call an >> observation that cannot apply in this case. >> Nancy >> >> >>> Chokh Raj 02/19/10 11:05 PM >>> >> 'Gerontion' - the dramatic arc >> >> ----- >> >> Here I am, an old man in a dry month, [line 1] >> >> I an old man, / A dull head among windy spaces [lines 15-16] >> >> I have no ghosts / An old man in a draughty house / Under a windy >> knob. [lines 30-32] >> >> And an old man driven by the Trades / To a sleepy corner. [lines >> 72-73] >> >> ----- >> >> To me the monologue moves along the lines of a classical dramatic >> structure -- with an Exposition, a Rising Action, a Climax, and a >> Resolution. >> >> just an observation >> >> CR >> >> >> Hotmail: Powerful Free email with security by Microsoft. Get it now. >> Hotmail: Trusted email with Microsoft’s powerful SPAM protection. >> Sign up now.