Poem: Rooms

In our Literature class we read the poem “Rooms” and had to analyse it.

Rooms

BY CHARLOTTE MEW

I remember rooms that have had their part

     In the steady slowing down of the heart.

The room in Paris, the room at Geneva,

The little damp room with the seaweed smell,

And that ceaseless maddening sound of the tide—

     Rooms where for good or for ill—things died.

But there is the room where we (two) lie dead,

Though every morning we seem to wake and might just as well seem to sleep again

     As we shall somewhere in the other quieter, dustier bed

     Out there in the sun—in the rain.

Answer the following questions

1. Read about the writer.

Make notes about her life and about what may have influenced her writings.  Why is it said that the life of the writer was a tragedy?

Haunted by unrequited passion and tormemted by fears of madness, but she still managed to write great poems of passion and beauty. She loved most.of her life in poverty. She hated the fact that she was mad. But this led her to write great poems about unrequitted love, she wrote about death as a place where we could finally find love and serenity.

2. Read the poem: how are “rooms” described?

Each rooms describes a moment in her life. A relationship that ended. A trip or a disease. Every now and then, she goes back to those rooms that are in her head and remebers what it felt like to be in love, or sick. She has rooms from Paris and Geneva. Rooms in the beach, or rooms for when she was sick. There is one room where she and her lover died, where their relationship ended, and they both lay dead now.

3. “The poem offers us a poignant account of loss as qualified through the depiction of abandoned rooms. Rooms are the physical means to which relationships are developed and consecrated. It entails intimacy and love, as well as abandon and death. It shelters individuals, as well as couples, from the harshness of the natural elements outside, providing them with a private and cosy space. There is also a sense of shifting dependence as the couples travel from room to room, leaving their trails behind and simultaneously having images of the abandoned rooms imprinted upon their memories.”

Account for this with quotation from the poem

– “Though every morning we seem to wake and might just as well seem to sleep again”

This quote makes reference to the intimacy and love the room they died in represented, and also makes reference to abandonment and death.

– “As we shall somewhere in the other quieter, dustier bed. Out there in the sun—in the rain” 

 This quote shows a sense of shifting dependence as the couples travel from room to room, leaving their trails behind and simultaneously having images of the abandoned rooms imprinted upon their memories.

4. The poem begins “I remember”. What does this tell you about the voice? And the tone?

The fact that the poem begins with “I remember” tells me that the voice is remeniscing her past, visiting her rooms, her past, and she does this with a nostalgic and melancholic tone.

5. What is the theme in your opinion? What is the tone?

The themes in this poem are Love, Wisdom and Age.

Virtual period Activity (Deadline: May 15)

Read the following poem and compare and contrast it to “Rooms”  in terms of style, language and form, paying special attention to their portrayal of abandoned rooms.

Home is so Sad
by Philip Larkin

Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft

And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.

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