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Marching Still

Marching Still

By Minna Irving

She is old, and bent, and wrinkled,
   In her rocker in the sun,
And the thick, gray, woollen stocking
   That she knits is never done.
She will ask the news of battle
   If you pass her when you will,
For to her the troops are marching,
   Marching still.

Seven tall sons about her growing
   Cheered the widowed mother's soul;
One by one they kissed and left her
   When the drums began to roll.
They are buried in the trenches,
   They are bleaching on the hill;
But to her the boys are marching,
   Marching still.

She was knitting in the corner
   When the fatal news was read,
How the last and youngest perished,--
   And the letter, ending, said:
"I am writing on my knapsack
   By the road with borrowed quill,
For the Union army'a marching,
   Marching still."

Reason sank and died within her
   Like a flame for want of air;
So she knits the woollen stockings
   For the soldier lads to wear,
Waiting till the war is ended
   For her sons to cross the sill;
For she thinks they all are marching,
   Marching still.

 

She is old, and bent, and wrinkled,

   In her rocker in the sun,
And the thick, gray, woollen stocking
   That she knits is never done.
She will ask the news of battle
   If you pass her when you will,
For to her the troops are marching,
   Marching still.

Seven tall sons about her growing
   Cheered the widowed mother's soul;
One by one they kissed and left her
   When the drums began to roll.
They are buried in the trenches,
   They are bleaching on the hill;
But to her the boys are marching,
   Marching still.

She was knitting in the corner
   When the fatal news was read,
How the last and youngest perished,--
   And the letter, ending, said:
"I am writing on my knapsack
   By the road with borrowed quill,
For the Union army'a marching,
   Marching still."

Reason sank and died within her
   Like a flame for want of air;
So she knits the woollen stockings
   For the soldier lads to wear,
Waiting till the war is ended
   For her sons to cross the sill;
For she thinks they all are marching,
   Marching still.

This poem illustrates simple expression with a complex meaning.  
The meaning of death was the most enduring legacy of the Civil War. 
This poem describes the despair of the weeping mother who has not 
overcome the news of the death of her seven son.  
In order to cope with her sadness, she imagines her sons still marching 
in the fields, and that they might one day return home to her. 
Her imagination is the only mechanism that can allow her to adapt to the harsh reality 
of her sons' deaths.
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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Civil War Poetry

 

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Are You Worth Watching?

Since the advent of modern technology, there was always fear that governments will use weapon of mass information to control its citizens.  George Orwell further intensified this fear with his book 1984, where the supreme leadership of the super-states were tracking and reeducating its citizens’ every move.  As a result of this book, hysteria and paranoia have escalated among citizens of a state.  Along with these fears came the dread for one’s freedom and privacy, the result of the illustration of a theoretical government described in Orwell’s book.  However, the book is merely a parable, and audiences should not interpret the scripts for what it is, but for what advices it offers.

Believers in the Orwellian concepts in the modern world argues that a person’s privacy and freedom are violated and recorded by the government.  To them, the internet is the biggest example.  However, many obvious arguments can be used to dispute the bias.  Firstly, internet was invented as a way for people to communicate and record information across a boundless web around the world.  As stated in the article Online Privacy: Using the Internet Safely, the internet is meant to be a means of communication and keeping records, and it will be used as such.  With this purpose, it is imbecilic for a person to post their personal information on the internet and expects it to be kept private.  Therefore, posting private information on the internet is bound to backfire. 

 

Compared to the Orwellian concepts of government, the modern world is safer and allows for privacy and freedom of the human mind.  It allows its citizens to exercise any ideas within the boundaries of the law, and keeps their privacy where it is needed the most.  Google, one of the supposed “Big Brother” websites, is a search engine that has made life much easier for those surfing in the cyber world.  On the other hand, wiretaps, cyber- spying, spy satellites, and secret services are all a constant reminder of the threat that dictatorship and terrorism imposes on any nation.  They are there to apprehend the threats to freedom, and they are a necessary evil to keep in a world of turbulence.  Without these systems, in a world of total privacy and total freedom without checks and balances, in an anarchy, civilization would cease to exist.

 

From antiguity to today, no government was ever strong enough to exercise Orwellian control over its citizens.  From predictions based on Orwell’s 1984 government, that particular authoritarian dictatorship will collapse with a “foreign” spark, similar to the Soviet Union with the awareness of oppression and the collapse in its leadership.

From these arguments, an Orwellian state simply cannot be achieved, just as perpetuality cannot be accomplished.  There are simply too many flaws to be corrected by the government, and there are too many individuals to be controlled.

“Online Privacy: Using the Internet Safely | Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.” Privacy Rights Clearinghouse | Empowering Consumers. Protecting Privacy. Mar. 2011. Web. 06 Apr. 2011. <http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs18-cyb.htm&gt;.

Walker, Leslie. “Leslie Walker – Forgot What You Searched For? Google Didn’t – Washingtonpost.com.” The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines – Washingtonpost.com. 21 Jan. 2006. Web. 06 Apr. 2011. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/20/AR2006012001799.html&gt;.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Beyond 1984

 

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The Wife’s Lament

1)  The woman’s first leader left her people and then she went into exile to reconcile for her sorrow.  She refused to move on, even when her fellow kinsmen forced her to move on.  The leader was the reason she was in exile and she was afraid that she would find her man a shadow of his former self.  Happiness linked them together, but now longing tore them apart.  The woman is afraid of growing old alone.

2) The speaker feels strongly about how the character should fit into the community.  He believes that home is where the heart is.  He also believes that loneliness is the worst exile.

3) The imagery  imposed an ominous landscape  devoid of humanity.  The character invoke an image of her leader being in a far away land commanding a different throne.  There is a lack of sounds which illustrates the loneliness inside her mind.

4) The woman in this elegy  represents Grendel in Beowulf  because of how lonely she is.  In the poem it says that “the man sent me out to live in the woods” and Grendel was banished from the kingdom of Geats.  The leader left his people, just as Beowulf died.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2010 in Anglo-Saxon Poetry

 

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