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Burn Norton (T.S. Elliot) Essay

Describe the sound and pace of the opening section of Burnt Norton, and compare those qualities to the meters and language used in section II. Why do you suppose that the first stanza of section II is a tetrameter with a rhyme scheme, while the stanzas before and after forgo rhyme and use a variety of time lengths? What might those variations suggest about the tone of the poems opening and the psychological or spiritual content? The first stanza of section II is a tetrameter with a rhyme scheme because each of its lines was composed of eight syllables, four of which are stressed or accented (eHow. com, 2009).

In sharp contrast, the stanzas before and after did not adhere to this structure. They were made up of lines that appeared to be more of spoken language than verses of poetry. It would be fair to say that the stanzas before and after the first stanza of section II are free verse forms of poetry. Such a variation is not without purpose – it was intended to highlight the nostalgic and apprehensive tones of the poem’s opening. The poem’s opening was mainly about the speaker’s feelings about the concepts of time and change. He or she was torn between holding on to treasured memories of the past and submitting to the inevitable arrival of change.

The spiritual content of the poem likewise reflected the aforementioned conflict. It was revealed in the end of the first stanza that although the speaker finally acknowledged the inseparability of change in all aspects of human existence, he or she did so with a heavy heart. 2. The word “time” appears over and over again in Burnt Norton. How is time invoked or described at various points in the poem? Is there an interesting progression or change in these references? What lines strike you as especially odd or mysterious? What is their effect? Singly or together?

Indeed, the word “time” appears over and over again in Burnt Norton. But the speaker has diverging descriptions of time in the poem. At the beginning of the first stanza, for example, he or she invoked time as an adversary: All time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction Remaining a perpetual possibility Only in a world of speculation. What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present. (n. pag. ) But towards the last stanza of section V, the speaker finally realized the futility of trying to make time stop in order to maintain a cherished status quo:

Desire itself is movement Not in itself desirable; Love is itself unmoving, Only the cause and end of movement, Ridiculous the waste sad time Stretching before and after. (n. pag. ). The above-mentioned insight stemmed from the fact that ideals such as love and desire were attained mainly because there were individuals who willingly abandoned convention in order to pursue them. I myself initially found these lines to be odd – the speaker suddenly changed his or her views on love and desire after agonizing about their inevitable loss for the most part of the poem.

But these lines also had a single effect on me – they enlightened me on the real nature of love and happiness, as well as how they are truly attained. 3. Read the first ten lines of section V, and consider them as possible commentary on poetry – and on this poem in particular. What is suggested here about the importance of “Words, after speech” or “the form, the pattern” that can “reach/The stillness”? What inferences do you draw from these lines about what Burnt Norton is attempting to achieve? The first ten lines of section V suggested that the things which people appreciated (poetry, music, etc.

) became what they are mainly because people had the opportunity to look back and realize their value long after they had been created. A given piece of literature, for instance, can be appreciated only after it has been read or heard. A certain artwork can be judged to be of value only after its completion. The inevitable passage of time allowed people to come up with ideas on what is beautiful, ugly, good and bad. The first ten lines of section V are implying that change should be welcomed instead of shunned. The passage of time brings about change that an institution needs to survive.

This change can come in the form of the discovery of new ideas, principles and beliefs. A form of music that was dismissed as scandalous a century ago could be now deemed as sophisticated. Would these be possible if time was stopped just to preserve a treasured status quo? References eHow. com. (2009). How to Write in Iambic Tetrameter. Retrieved June 16, 2009, from http://www. ehow. com/how_4392330_write-iambic-tetrameter. html Tristan. Icom43. net. (2000, June). Burnt Norton (No. 1 of “Four Quartets”). Retrieved June 16, 2009, from http://www. tristan. icom43. net/quartet

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