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So The Hall Door Shuts Again And All Noise Is Gone Analysis

Author: poem of Anne Carson Type: poem Views: 8

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In the effort to find one's way among the contents of memory

    (Aristotle emphasizes)

a principal of association is helpful—

"passing rapidly from one step to the next.

For instance from milk to white,

from white to air,

from air to damp,

after which one recollectes autumn supposing one is trying to

      recollect that season."

Or supposing,

fair reader,

you are trying to recollect not autumn but freedom,

a principal of freedom

the existed between two people, small and savage

as principals go—but what are the rules for this?

As he says,

folly may come into fashion.

Pass then rapidly

from one step to the next,

for instance from nipple to hard,

from hard to hotel room,

from hotel room

to a phrase found in a letter he wrote in a taxi one day he passed

his wife


on the other side of the street and she did not see him, she was—

so ingenious are the arrangements of the state of flux we call

our moral history are they not almost as neat as mathematical

propositions except written on water—

on her way to the courthouse

to file papers for divorce, a phrase like

how you tasted between your legs.

After which by means of this wholly divine faculty, the "memory

     of words and things,"

one recollects


Is it I? cries the soul rushing up.

Little soul, poor vague animal:

beware this invention "always useful for learning and life"

as Aristotle say, Aristotle who

had no husband,

rarely mentions beauty

and was likely to pass rapidly from wrist to slave when trying to

    recollect wife.

Submitted by Peter Carter


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

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In Tango XX, Anne Carson speaks to us about memory and the association of memory. After taking us through one’s association of milk, passing to air, damp, and autumn, we are challenged, “to recollect not autumn but freedom, / a principle of freedom” ( 10,11) We are to remember not freedom as a whole, but an aspect- a part of it. Remembering a unique characteristic (in one’s opinion) of freedom is much more personal than recalling words associated with the definition of freedom.
In line 10, “autumn” and “freedom” are juxtaposed. A season synonymous with death and the declining of life on the earth is sitting next to the word, “freedom,” which has usually positive connotation. This juxtaposition seems less different and more similar in line 12’s explanation of the traits of freedom. ”Small and savage” (12), are the words chosen by Carson to explain the freedom. After looking up the numerous definitions of freedom, I came across, “the absence of or release from ties.” This freedom is not the loosing of ties from a tyrant, but the losing of a husband.
Lines 16-30 flow together seamlessly; there is lack of ending punctuation. Lines 18-20 give the feeling of a cheap hook-up in a hotel. These lines quickly pass from “nipple” to “hard” and from “hard” to “a phrase found in a letter he wrote in a taxi one day he passed his wife / walking” (21-23). It is as if the husband had quickly cheated on the wife and wrote her while passing her in a taxi.
The word “pass” is used four times in this tango (“passing rapidly” to be exact). The first two uses of “pass” are used as how the mind flows through words to get to others. The third use of “pass” is the husband physically passing the wife on the street. However, keeping to the idea of “passing” from one idea to the next, the husband is passing from the wife to the mistress.
“Mathematical propositions /… written on water” (26,27) is an odd image. Math equations are written neatly and in a full sense of order, however any touch made on water will cause messy ripples.
The divorce papers and, “how you tasted between your legs” (30) are attached even though the act of divorce would (usually) end any sensual encounters as this image.
In lines 37 and 38, Carson reminds us Aristotle had no husband. Though she ties Aristotle to this, Line 38’s solitary, “had no husband,” shows us her solitude. After the divorce, she had no husband.
Line 33 is one word long, and that word is “freedom.” One of the last words in this tango is “slave.” Though Carson is freed from any legal or marital ties to the husband, she is slave to his beauty, which is still running rampant in her mind. If these two words are not enough proof of her slavery to him, then possibly the entire book is.

| Posted on 2010-03-15 | by a guest

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