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The End Of The World Analysis

Author: poem of Archibald MacLeish Type: poem Views: 25

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Quite unexpectedly, as Vasserot

The armless ambidextrian was lighting

A match between his great and second toe,

And Ralph the lion was engaged in biting

The neck of Madame Sossman while the drum

Pointed, and Teeny was about to cough

In waltz-time swinging Jocko by the thumb---

Quite unexpectedly the top blew off:

And there, there overhead, there, there hung over

Those thousands of white faces, those dazed eyes,

There in the starless dark the poise, the hover,

There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,

There in the sudden blackness the black pall

Of nothing, nothing, nothing --- nothing at all.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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I think this means that the glam and glitter of the circus is exposed as a hoax... The man behind the curtain..

| Posted on 2017-09-18 | by a guest

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The poem is deeper then these interpretations of life and death. Yes, the circus is the human race. So when the top gets blown we are set up for something to happen but nothing does. The poem is anti climactic in that Mcleash sets us up for something monumental to happen. It's like Miles Davis "So What" All the drama and spectical of life means nothing "So What" Life and death mean nothing. They are.So what.

| Posted on 2014-06-09 | by a guest

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In this poem the psycho-phenomenal situation is that the extreme rush of excitement and joy of life is quickly lost as one\'s life come to cease and is left with a void emptiness.

| Posted on 2011-10-16 | by a guest

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The first stanza refers to the circus like quality that is life. The unexpectedness, and awe-striking qualities. \"Quite unexpectedly the top blew off\" is the transition in which the end of the world becomes apparent. Armageddon. God has sent down his angels, \"There with those vast wings across canceled skies.\" And then its all over, there is \"Nothing, nothing, nothing---nothing at all,\" bring back the idea that those who have not made it to the promised land are stuck for eternity in nothingness.

| Posted on 2010-11-09 | by a guest

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the first stanza displays a joyful life and the oddities in life (such as an armless ambidextrian). however the second stanza depicts a more broad view and appears to be more dark, thus demonstrating death (white faces and dazed eyes show dead bodies). thus, the poet suggests that death remains a sudden and inevitable force that no one can control. one must life his or her life to the fullest potential yet keep that idea of death in mind.

| Posted on 2010-05-01 | by a guest

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I think that the second stanza shows that they see God for a brief instant just before it all goes to black.
Alternatively, If you read it literally, it starts to resemble 9/11 which it would have been impossible for him to write about since he died in '82!

| Posted on 2010-04-15 | by a guest

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for me it seems like the first verse is pretty much literal and the last one talks about something pulling the roof off and a black hole being above them. I came up with the black hole because of the starless sky.

| Posted on 2009-10-01 | by a guest

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In the second verse, he seems to be saying that individual death or the end of the world can't be comprehended.
Or he's saying that our ultimate fear is so fundamental it can't be conceptually detailed.
Or both.

| Posted on 2009-08-25 | by a guest

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MacLeish critiques the circus of life in which humans ceaselessly divert themselves with the bizarre to escape from the idea of their smallness, their relative unimportance in the face of a vast, possibly impersonal, cosmos. Alas, the poem attests that the diversions can only be temporary.

| Posted on 2009-05-21 | by a guest

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