Wrap-Up: In Memoriam

So, how did you enjoy reading a poem for a change? This poem was a lot longer than I anticipated. Here I thought we were getting a break, and then our poem ends up being the length of a novella? Well, at least it was no Iliad.

What did you think? I wasn’t blown away by this poem, but it was fascinating to see Tennyson’s reaction to his friend’s death and tracked his grief. The beginning is angry and sad; but over the years of writing about the experience he mellows out and comes to terms with the loss. The famous line “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” is from this piece (for some reason I always thought it was Shakespeare?) and Daria eloquently explains it in the episode like this:

Daria – Well, he’s acknowledging that if something makes you feel good, like being in love, there must be a corresponding painful side, like losing a love, and that it’s just a fact of life.

Mr. O’Neill – Sad, but true.

Daria – And what’s intriguing about it is that no one calls Tennyson a big unhappiness freak just because he understands that.

Mr. O’Neill – Is he a big unhappiness freak?

Daria – No, he’s a realist. He says, “Emotional involvement brings pleasure and extraordinary pain.” Then he declares that it’s better than feeling nothing at all.

Mr. O’Neill – That is excellent, Daria.

Daria – Of course, this was before the advent of community property laws.

Conversations like this remind me that at one point in time there was more to MTV than teen pregnancy reality shows. Can we have more intelligent introverts on TV, please? Anyway, here are the wrap-up discussion questions:

Question #1 – What did you think of it?
Question #2 – What do you think Daria would have thought of the piece?
Question #3 – Are there any final, thoughts, themes, questions, etc. that you would like to discuss?

Our next selection is a book that you most likely read sophomore year of high school: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nothing like a good supernatural allegory for the month of October!

scarlet letter


3 thoughts on “Wrap-Up: In Memoriam

  1. Question #1: Over all, I liked it quite a bit. It is a beautiful, if not very long, poem about loss and I can see why it is often quoted in eulogies and memorials. After finding about that it took a very long time to write this, I had to research who Tennyson was writing about. Turns out it was his brother-in-law. Now don’t get me wrong, my brother-in-law is a very nice person, but I cannot see taking 17 years to write a 100 plus stanza poem about him. Sorry Tyler! 😉

  2. Question #2: I think that the above quote sums up Daria’s view on this poem. “Ok, it’s been over a decade. You should probably move on…”

  3. Question #3: I really liked the imagery and reference to his brother-in-law’s life in this poem. Doing a little research on Tennyson and his family, really helped me understand certain parts of the poem that are very personal to Tennyson’s sister’s and A.A.’s lives.

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