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I'm still looking for a modernist way to characterise the dramatic arc fo Gerontian.
Senecan crumble comes to mind, perhaps because that is what the list's discussion seems to have
become in recent days. Seems to me a good shot of Geritol is in order.

On the other hand, CR, I applaud your continuing
to hope that some worthwhile attention might come to your worth challenge of the enigmatic old man.
He may be dry, but he's nowhere near dry as toast.

AN interesting irony creeps in if one incorporates the theology that humanity can do nothing to save itself.
It is entirely stuck. If it accepts the gift of faith, which is entirely a gift, then the eyes reappear, the hope
only of empty men.

Could it be that Eliot was assuming a knowledge of basic Christian theology on the part of his reader?
Modern society has pretty well become Christianically (I can't find an existing word for what I want here)
challenged, or even totally illiterate.

P.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chokh Raj 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 7:39 PM
  Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- the dramatic arc


        concluding post, hopefully

        Dear Listers,

        Here's a slight modification in the list I presented -- the arc of thought that moves upward reaches its climax with the 4th observation -- and takes a downward turn with the 5th -- till it reaches its denouement in the 8th-9th. 

        1. Gerontion [an old man, in a dry month, waiting for rain] looks at the world through a Christian lens --

        2. He is bitterly critical of the prevailing social scenario which to him is antagonistic to the values he cherishes --

        3. To him there is no forgiveness for the impudent crimes perpetrated through human history by human vanity and greed -- our sins, however, pave the way for our virtues, the hard way, though "[Virtues / Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes. / These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree."]

        4. He likes to believe that death is not the end of all -- "Think at last / We have not reached conclusion, when I / Stiffen in a rented house."

        5. BUT, ironically, [and here begins the reversal of mood] Gerontion himself has not been able to escape the corruptions of life -- despite his faith in the Incarnation of the Word and his detestation of the world's departure from the Word -- his own life has been a saga of failure -- he stands degraded in his own eyes --

        6. Finally, to his bafflement and dismay, death & destruction -- more importantly utter annihilation -- equally await all -- those who sin in ignorance and those who sin in knowledge --

        7. The Trades --  the winds of the world  -- bring about total annihilation ("fractured atoms") -- bringing death among mankind --

        8.  The Trades drive G to a sleepy corner -- and whatever view one may take of G's final state -- call it utter vacancy of thought -- or cynical disillusion -- it constitutes a total reversal of his mood --

        9. The curtain drops on the last two lines -- a self-deprecating expression of cynical disillusion.

        Please have a last look at the four phrases that punctuate the monologue -- one can trace the dramatic arc of thought as one moves from one phrase to the next -- it is certainly there for all to see.

        Best,
         CR


        --- On Mon, 2/22/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
          Dear Listers,

          Here are some (tentative?) observations I'd like to share with you. To me:

          1. The protagonist looks at the world through a Christian lens --

          2. He is critical of the prevailing social scenario which to him is antagonistic to the values he cherishes --

          3. To him there is no forgiveness for the impudent crimes perpetrated through human history by human vanity and greed -- our sins, however, pave the way for our virtues, the hard way, though --

          4. He likes to believe that death is not the end of all -- even if life has been to him a saga of dismal failures -- 

          5. He has not been able to escape the corruptions of life -- despite his faith in the Incarnation of the Word and his detestation of the world's departure from the Word -- 

          6. BUT, Death & destruction await all -- those who sin in ignorance and those who sin in knowledge --

          7. The Trades -- trade winds, winds of flux & change, or whatever -- bring about an end to life -- bring death among mankind, as they say --

          8. The Trades drives G to a sleepy corner --

          9. And whatever view one may take of G's final state -- call it utter vacancy of thought -- or cynical disillusion -- it remains an existential trauma/tragedy --

          10. The monologue is an expression of this angst of a modern man --

          We may call it a tragedy of inaction -- to me it is a counterpart of the classical tragedy of action  -- it's not drama proper -- it is poetry --
          but it follows a certain curve of thought indicated by the phrases that punctuate the monologue.

          Regards,
          CR


          --- On Sat, 2/20/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

          > Hi!
          > 
          > Now this should be a help to me [I'll not have to explain
          > it to myself all over again] and to the List. I find that my
          > reading of 'Gerontion' is available online at the following
          > link -- please go to CONTENTS and then to 'POEMS 1920' --
          > and there it is, beginning p.49. O, I was so afraid that
          > some pages would be missing, as they generally are, but
          > thank God, it's all there quite intact.
          > 
          > http://books.google.com/books?id=uKXwG_4wmSQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false
          > 
          > Please peruse it, if you like, and I hope the mighty drama
          > that rages in Gerontion's mind vis-a-vis the ambience he
          > confronts -- only to discover, most ironically, pathetically
          > & painfully that he himself is an inalienable part of it
          > -- that the antogonist he is contending against is within
          > himself, as well as without -- he finds himself immersed in
          > it irretrievably -- only to realize the futility of
          > contending against an enemy all too mighty for him or for
          > anyone else. Finally he turns deprecatingly away from the
          > ambience, and from himself, so to say, in a state of
          > detached indifference. The closing state of "sleep" is an
          > expression of utmost "vacancy" that finds expression in the
          > Four Quartets -- indicative of the threshold of The Dark
          > Night of the Soul. 
          > 
          > The classical structure of drama outlined in the four
          > phrases that punctuate the poem should be evident too. But
          > if it is not, I suppose that can wait.
          > 
          > Thanks,
          > CR 
          > 
          > --- On Sat, 2/20/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
          > wrote:
          > 
          > > Dear Listers,
          > >  
          > > Please let me present the four crucial phrases
          > > again for your kind consideration -- the first one in
          > its
          > > complete form:
          > >  
          > > "an old man in a dry month, / Being read
          > > to by a boy, waiting for rain."
          > >  
          > > "an old man, / A dull head among
          > > windy spaces."
          > >  
          > > "An old man in a draughty house / Under a
          > > windy knob."
          > >  
          > > "an old man driven by the Trades / To a
          > > sleepy corner."
          > >  
          > > I call upon you to kindly reflect on them as part of
          > > our reappraisal of the poem's structure of thought
          > > --  and you will find that the monologue points to a
          > > significant involvement of the protagonist in a
          > process of
          > > thought and action . Of that later.
          > >  
          > > Thanks,
          > > CR
          > > 
          > > 
          > > --- On Fri, 2/19/10, Chokh Raj
          > > <[log in to unmask]>
          > wrote:
          > > 
          > > 
          > > 
          > > 
          > > 
          > > 
          > > 
          > > '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
          > > 
          > > 
          > > 
          > > 
          > > 
          > >       
          > 
          > 
          >       
          >