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Help on Love In The Asylum Analysis.
Posted by: Squirt (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 05, 2006 11:56PM

I'm a fan of Dylan Thomas and have done papers on some of his poems in the past, namely Fern Hill and Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. The reason I'm here is because I can't seem to find the connection to his life in the poem Love In The Asylum. My teacher has put me to find the deeper meaning of this poem and its connections to his life. I can't seem to grasp it. Am I just missing something really obvious or am I on an impossible task.


Re: Help on Love In The Asylum Analysis.
Posted by: Squirt (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 06, 2006 12:08AM

Oh I realize it would probably help is I posted the poem so you wouldn't have to go searching. I found this to be a confusing poem compared to soe of his others. :/

____________

A stranger has come
To share my room in the house not right in the head,
A girl mad as birds

Bolting the night of the door with her arm her plume.
Strait in the mazed bed
She deludes the heaven-proof house with entering clouds

Yet she deludes with walking the nightmarish room,
At large as the dead,
Or rides the imagined oceans of the male wards.

She has come possessed
Who admits the delusive light through the bouncing wall,
Possessed by the skies

She sleeps in the narrow trough yet she walks the dust
Yet raves at her will
On the madhouse boards worn thin by my walking tears.

And taken by light in her arms at long and dear last
I may without fail
Suffer the first vision that set fire to the stars.


Re: Help on Love In The Asylum Analysis.
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 06, 2006 01:25PM

Yeah, DT is almost always tough to read/interpret.

One infers that the speaker (not necessarily Thomas, right) is in an insane asylum, and a new girl patient is admitted.

The poem has six three-line stanzas, seemingly unrhymed, but note the endings:

come/plume/room
head/bed/dead
birds/clouds/wards

Surely he intends such rhymes to add a 'haunting' effect, which goes nicely with the theme of insanity, and perhaps love as well.

I read the short lines as dimeter (two feet) and the long ones as pentameter. Probably this duplicates some obscure Greek form, but if so, not one I immediately recall. Auden would know, surely, but where is he when you need him.

Possibly Dylan chose his disjointed lines and rhythm to suggest insanity itself:


A stranger has come
To share my room in the house not right in the head,
A girl mad as birds

Bolting the night of the door with her arm her plume.


Now, the way it is written, the house is what is not 'right in the head', and the sentence should likely be ' a stranger not right in the head has come ...' Thomas was never gramatically-challenged, so we have to guess he wanted us to stumble on such a construction.

Then, we get a girl mad as birds bolting .... Are the birds bolting (at the door), or is the girl bolting the door? And why would her arm be a plume? Is a plume like a feather, or a spout of water? Or a synonym for a fountain pen maybe?

Such obscurities and oddities run rampant throughout the piece, which is one reason why many readers are turned off by the hard-drinking Welshman, yours truly among them I confess.

If forced to guess a 'deeper meaning', I would have to speculate that DT was talking about someone he met when in an asylum, or perhaps his muse (poetry itself). Looking at various internet sites with Thomas biographies, I see no mention of incarceration in Bedlam-type houses, so I gotta guess the asylum is the author's head and the mad girl his muse.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2006 12:00PM by Hugh Clary.


Re: Help on Love In The Asylum Analysis.
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 06, 2006 10:33PM

Hugh, I tend to think of this "intruder" as perhaps Thomas's alter ego, the "green fuse" which drives him to create and perhaps to destroy himself in the process.

Les


Re: Help on Love In The Asylum Analysis.
Posted by: Squirt (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 06, 2006 11:16PM

Dylan Thomas is indeed quite hard to interpret at times. From this poem, at face value, I got that the speaker falls in love with the new girl in the asylum by the end of the poem. On a deeper level, Thomas often thought that walking the line of genius was also the line of sanity and that many times insanity and genius went hand in hand. He might have been showing that his own inspiration/genius, represented by the girl like you said, was also his insanity. He actually wrote an essay on the connections of genius and madness in the art world. Maybe through this poem he was trying to help people feel out the line that he though he was walking. Though I could be horribly wrong on all of this. :/

If you don't mind I would like to expand upon your interpretation as welland I want to credit you for starting me out on this project. Would you mind if I put a link to this thread and you're email into my paper's work cited page? I could leave out your email if you want, I just don't want to take credit for the help you've given me on this assignment.


Re: Help on Love In The Asylum Analysis.
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 07, 2006 11:59AM

My e-mail is a throwaway one, and I get enough spam at that location already, so no need to credit me. Link the thread if you like, since the site could use the exposure.

As regular readers here will confirm, if my interpretation were correct, it would be the first time, so take it with a grain of skepticism. Meanwhile, I will go back and correct the typo on Dylan above.



Re: Help on Love In The Asylum Analysis.
Posted by: jerrygarner7 (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 07, 2006 06:57PM


I Agree that it is an alter ego.
He and the girl are one. It is easier to describe the torments of one like him, but not him.

Les mentioned DT's 'green fuse' that is a difficult entry-one man questioning of existance, why, and if why, then why must it end?
He pounds away at the life-force, seeking answers, measuring the life-force, explaining how it works and how it will end. He is angry at this paradox: an event, without answers is allowed to exist-why?
I can still remember the first time I read it. I knew it was masterfully written, but it raised many questions. It is one of the few poems I've read
where full understanding is unwanted.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/2006 11:54AM by jerrygarner7.


Re: Help on Love In The Asylum Analysis.
Posted by: eleanorharris (216.164.51.---)
Date: November 06, 2008 09:25AM

I personally believe that the asylum is the world, a crazy world, and this woman comes in, and because she is crazy in a crazy world, she makes perfect sense.

DT also, in my opinion, is representing the girl as a bird. Her arm, her plume, she's mad as birds. That part is also interesting to me because 'mad as birds'... is that bad? Birds squawk, and we don't know what they think, but does that make them 'mad?'

This is mainly crazy ramblings, and I doubt anyone agrees with me..




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