Sunday
April 20, 2014

Homework Help: English

Posted by Henry1 on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 2:05pm.

I'm finding it difficult to paraphrase (word by word) the poem "The Cruellest Month" by Eliot. I'll include it here in the hope you can have a look at it and help me rephrase it.


1) April is described as the cruellest month since it breeds (stirs/awakens) lilacs (shall I use "flowers and trees") out of their winter sleep.
2) Furthermore, it mixes memories of the past winter, when the vegetation was covered by forgetful snow, with the desire for a new life.
3) A parallel can be drawn with Chaucer's description of the gentle spring rain which ends the draught of March and brings about the rebirth of nature.
4) Eliot, however, prefers the winter because it lets men leave in peace forgetting the past. He associates the winter with warmth and cosiness though it feeds the land with dried tubers, symbol of spiritual sterility.
5) The poem is written in free verse. He uses alliteration, repetition of the sound "ing". Being a symbolist writer Eliot gives importance to the sound quality of words.


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

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