• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

English commentary - what the thunder said

Extracts from this document...


English Commentary What the Thunder said "What the Thunder Said," the final section of "picks up the same thread, referring in the first stanza to the passion of Christ, another famous deceased. The "torchlight red on sweaty faces" perhaps indicates the guards who come to take Christ away; the "garden" is Gethsemane; "the agony in stony places" refers to the torture and the execution itself; and "of thunder of spring over distant mountains" describes the earthquake following the crucifixion. From Christ's death springs life; similarly, the Phoenician is killed by water, that life-giving force, that symbol of fertility and rebirth. As in "The Burial of the Dead," life and death are inextricably linked, their borders blurred at times: "He who was living is now dead / We who were living are now dying / With a little patience." The final section, "What the Thunder Said," begins with images of a journey over barren and rocky ground. ...read more.


As the poet continues to degenerate mentally, the associations within his poem become increasingly incoherent and complex. In the poet's imagination, the road to Emmaus becomes combined with the image of a highway leading out of the war-ravaged territories of Eastern Europe. The poet confuses the sound of airplanes overhead with the cries of mothers who have lost their children ("murmur of maternal lamentation"). The imagery of the poem becomes hallucinogenic and apocalyptic, suggesting mutation, disorder, and hopeless despair ("bats with baby faces, ... crawled head downward down a broken wall"). Standing before a ruined cathedral (perhaps a bomb site left over from the war), the poet concludes that he is at the gates of the Castle Perilous, where the questing knights of Arthurian legend prepared to approach to the Holy Grail. The Chapel Perilous in the Grail legend is a mysterious and deadly place where the hero knight meets with a strange and terrifying adventure. ...read more.


Then the poem seems to collapse into a rush of quotations and allusions-- a flood of meanings and suggestions ending with the word shanti (peace). The final stanza of "once again link Western and Eastern traditions, transporting the reader to the Ganges and the Himalayas, and then returning to the Thames and London Bridge. Eliot's tactic throughout his poem has been that of eclecticism, of mixing and matching and of diversity, and here this strain reaches a culmination. The relevant Upanishad passage, which Eliot quotes, describes God delivering three groups of followers -- men, demons, and the gods -- the sound "Da." The challenge is to pull some meaning out of this apparently meaningless syllable. For men, "Da" becomes "Datta," meaning to give; this order is meant to curb man's greed. For demons, "dayadhvam" is the dictum: these cruel and sadistic beings must show compassion and empathy for others. Finally, the gods must learn control - "damyata" - for they are wild and rebellious. Together, these three orders add up to a consistent moral perspective, composure, generosity, and empathy lying at the core. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Poem Commentary on "Strange Meeting"

    will break ranks" and all will fight for the country. The theme of confusion and ambiguity is further shown as the soldiers had courage and wisdom and could "miss the march of this retreating world" but they did not know what to do to stop the war.

  2. IB English Poem Commentary - "Child and Insect"

    However, there is irony when the author writes, "He will not rejoice (in time he may but that is not yet certain) after such betrayal of his grief". This is ironic because the boy will not move forward from this, even though the grasshopper (the symbol for moving forward)

  1. an evil spirit

    and a couplet (of two lines). "An Evil Spirit" is a sonnet of fourteen lines and the rhyme scheme is "a-b-a-b/c-d-c-d/e-f-e-f/g-g". The rhymes of the poem are "...still-...ill, ...possessed- ...rest/ ...wake-...take, ...try- ...extremity/...

  2. The Burial of the Dead

    readers an imagery of splashing water to wake a sleepy person from a deep slumber. The swift changes in the climate, from dark to light is a technique employed by Eliot to show the different ways people can keep their physical states safe.

  1. Owen's war poetry

    their veins run cold" before they die and from whom no "compassion" "makes their feet sore on the alley cobbed with their brothers": they are allowed no more space for emotions once their comrades fall in the battle and they have to step on the corpses to make their way out.

  2. Articles of VN War

    C�n nhung ai c� ch�t b�nh t�m suy x�t, bi�t y�u l�y qu� huong kh�n kh� n�y, th� nhung th�ng tin m� t�i dua ra, se chi l� nhung x�c t�n. N� r�nh r�nh nhu 2+2 l� 4. Voi t�t ca luong t�m v� tr�ch nhiem cua t�i d�i voi nguoi d�n Mi�n Nam v� voi lich su.

  1. Spanish task-of love and other demons

    A trav�s de Sierva se presenta la cultura Yoruba. Esta obra pertenece al g�nero narrativo pues es una novela corta. CRONOLOGIA: La historia ocurre en Cartagena de Indias, en la segunda mitad del siglo 18 cuando todav�a quedaban restos de la autoridad colonial en el Caribe que se aferraban al

  2. Oral research in English

    it survives because of the sheer contempt that its audience have for it." He also states, "People are just totally gripped by misanthropy, the ridiculous and the cruel to an extent where they just can't divorce themselves from it." His outlook of the viewers' obsession to watch such reality shows can be clearly seen in this statement of his.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work