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Assignment: POETRY ESSAY: Due on Nov. 5
In Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poem, “Mr. Flood’s Party,” Eben Flood is dealing with some hard times. It is the stage in life where time is catching up to the elder. When friends are passing on and daily routines don’t seem as simple. Getting old is something that is natural, however in Mr. Flood’s Party” it shows how Eben Flood refuses to let time get the best of him. He uses unique ways to deal with the loss of friends and growing ancient.
The setting of this poem even adds to the over all elderly view. In line 3 of Robinson’s work, “And the forsaken upland hermitage. Hermitage according to Webster’s New College Dictionary means, “a place where person can live away from other people; secluded retreat.(p. 632) Mr. Flood is secluded, his friends have all passed on. They have grown old and left Eben to fin for himself. The word choice that Mr. Robinson uses adds a lot to this peice of literature. When he talks about the bitter cold, he tries to stress the meaning of old age. Readers then relate cold to wanting to curl up and do nothing. The same an elderly man would do because his options are limited do to age. It is truly felt while reading his work, Robison does not venture far from the pointat hand.
While reading this great poem, you can clearly see that being old and alone will not stop Mr. Flood from living life to the fullest. In lines 9-13 of Robinson’s masterpiece, Eben is having a ball at his party, no matter if he is the only one in attendance.
“Well, Mr. Flood, we have the harvest moon
Again, and we may not have many more:
The bird is on the wing, the poet says,
And you and I have said it here before.
Drink to the bird.”
He seems to carry on conversation with a friend, that is nowhere around or has been for some time. This is just one of the ways Eben Flood continues to live on.
Mr. Eben Flood does know the importance of good friends. E. A. Robinson relates to elderly friends in many pieces of his work. In his poem “An Old Story,” one of the men loses a friend to old age. The sad part, like so many other times in life is he doesn’t realize how much the man meant to him until he was gone.
I would have rid the earth of him
Once, in my pride
I never knew the worth of him
Until he died.
All readers must appreciate the importance of old buddies, even if it is only in memories. Like Mr. Flood, he remembers the times he spent with his pals, while drinking and chatting back and forth. This is a happy moment for Eben that is why he continually replays these occurrences in his imagination.
In many of the stanza’s in this poem, Mr. Flood is sharing a few drinks of whiskey with his chums. He shares these drinks with them as a crutch to deal with becoming a fossil.
“Well, Mr. Flood we have not met like this
In a long time; and many a change has come.
To both of us, I fear, since last it was
We had a drop together. Welcome home!” (lines 33-36)
Eben Flood is a man who is a survivor, at his old age it is very easy for him to entertain himself the way he would if actually at a legitament social gathering. In lines 46 through 48, Flood uses yet another way to keep himself from falling into the hole of self pity. He bellows out a little tune.
Of night he lifted up his voice and sang
Secure, with only two moons listening,
Until the whole harmonious landscape rang-
On a different side of this poem, sometimes you catch Eden Flood feeling sorry for himself or abandoned. He does seem to let his age get to him from time to time. As stated in lines 21 through 24, he is reminded of when he was special to people, of when he was honored for a great deed. Those times are far behind him now.
Below him, in the town among the trees,
Where friends of other days had honored him,
A phantom salutation of
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Mesopotamian mythology, Eben, Flood myth, Flood
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