English

Hi. I need help understanding the following sentence.

"And yet--and yet--is it not perhaps to satisfy expectation that one falls into the tragic key in writing of desertness? The more you wish of it the more you get, and in the mean time lose much of pleasantness."

Can anyone tell me what the "it" in the second sentence is referring to?
Is it referring to the "expectation" in the previous sentence?
And what does "more you get" imply?
The more you expect, the higher the expectation becomes?
Please help.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning suffered from depression, and wrote profically about it, and her feelings.

Her poem The Heavy Heart..


I lift my heavy heart up solemnly,

As once Electra her sepulchral urn,

And, looking in thine eyes, I over-turn

The ashes at thy feet. Behold and see

What a great heap of grief lay hid in me,

And how the red wild sparkles dimly burn

Through the ashen greyness. If thy foot in scorn

Could tread them out to darkness utterly,

It might be well perhaps. But if instead

Thou wait beside me for the wind to blow

The grey dust up, . . . those laurels on thine head,

O my Beloved, will not shield thee so,

That none of all the fires shall scorch and shred

The hair beneath. Stand further off then! go!

So, the question is, does one get farther and farther into despair living in the despair? The more you expect it, the more you get. In the meantime, you miss much joy.
Alcholics fall into this trap also...
The key word in your question is desertness....emptyness, desolation, despair...


Thanks again!

Thank you!

Sorry, I should've included the previous paragraph.
Is it possible that the expectation is referring to the expectation of finding a lost(gold) mine.

The palpable sense of mystery in the desert air breeds fables, chiefly of lost treasure. Somewhere within its stark borders, if one believes report, is a hill strewn with nuggets; one seamed with virgin silver; an old clayey water-bed where Indians scooped up earth to make cooking pots and shaped them reeking with grains of pure gold. Old miners drifting about the desert edges, weathered into the semblance of the tawny hills, will tell you tales like these convincingly. After a little sojourn in that land you will believe them on their own account. It is a question whether it is not better to be bitten by the little horned snake of the desert that goes sidewise and strikes without coiling, than by the tradition of a lost mine.

And yet--and yet--is it not perhaps to satisfy expectation that one falls into the tragic key in writing of desertness? The more you wish of it the more you get, and in the mean time lose much of pleasantness.

Yes, the context here is important. I think the expectation he writes of it the expectation of not finding the lost gold....expecting it not to happen, he falls into the trap of writing of desolation (desertness) of the land. The more one wishes for no treasure to be found, the more desolation you see and get. In the meantime, you have overlooked the joys.
This is not much different from Elizabeth Brownings expectations: She expected to be glum, and down, and have a heavy heart.

The IT there, I think, refers to "desertness", emptyness. Ones imagination creates what is not there, because we are loathing of the "aloneness". As a result, we make noise and confusion and miss on the beauty of what is there... the stars, the quiet, the "time".
Hope that makes sense to you.

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asked by John

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