EN 220 Lecture 11: EN 220 020817

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8 Feb 2017
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2/8/17
Modernists seem cutting edge, but at the same time, they seem almost primitive
Robert Frost
People don’t think he’s a modernist because he’s not over-the-top experimental
He’s popularity can be deceptive
He was actually a ferocious prick
Seems like a charming New Englander who writes about the woods and nature, but he’s
not - many in the academy (who believe in fake European standards) think he’s too
conservative and that he doesn’t have a European flavor
“Mending Wall”
It keeps it honest and real about the way the radical and rebellious sort of lie to you
He likes this because he wants to stick up for walls and boundaries - there’s a reality and
a necessity about walls
Roman God Terminus - God of boundary
On the Day of Terminus, you’d set out a little treat on a wall in hopes of
something gummy in return - this was a celebration of walls and boundaries
Modernism terrain can focus on the inside of someone’s persona (i.e. Yellow Wallpaper)
Nature doesn’t like the walls or boundaries
First 4 lines
Nature doesn’t like the wall - nature doesn’t think in boundaries
Human beings must have boundaries (children do not, but as they get older they
need to have them)
Human beings can’t abide by the force of nature - we tell kids to keep their hands
to themselves to maintain control, protect them, and protect others
Predicament: we both need walls, but at the same time we want to break them
“I let my neighbor know…. Between us as we go” (4 lines)
Uses “between” to show that they are separate, but to show that it also is them
The line between them serves these 2 edge functions
Mankind needs fixed barriers even as we work to overcome these barriers
One is oppressive and the other one is anarchy (necessary for security)
Line 35 - 40
Wall is representative of love
Refers to the old New England stone fences, which get distracted a lot
Lovely simile “like an old-stone savage armed”
Reminding us that stones can also be used as a weapons
Cain probably used a stone to kill Abel
Maybe walls show a sign of progress because it says “I will respect yours and
you will respect mine”
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