Edwin Arlington Robinsons the Mill

Topics: Past tense, Sentence, Grammatical aspect Pages: 2 (873 words) Published: March 24, 2005
Lucius Beebe critically analyzes Edwin Arlington Robinson's, The Mill best. Beebe's analysis is from an objective point of view. He points out to the reader that what seems so obvious may not be. She notes "The Mill is just a sad little tale of double suicide brought on by the encroachment of the modern world and by personal loss." Thus meaning The Mill carries a deeper underlying theme. Lucius Beebe expresses that a minor overflow of significant details has been exposed over Edwin Arlington Robinson's "The Mill," much of it concerned with whether the miller's wife did indeed drown herself after the miller had hanged himself. Another, even more provocative question has never been asked: did the Miller actually hang himself? Beebe suggests a close examination of the text suggests that both deaths may be imaginative constructs that exist only in the mind of the miller's wife. The critics, and most casual readers, have neglected to remember that nothing is a given in Robinson's work. The exegetical evidence in this case rests largely upon Robinson's subtle handling of verb tenses, sentence structure, and punctuation. Beebe implies that the first line of the poem, "The miller's wife had waited long," is in past perfect, a tense that implies action previous to the simple past, and a rather more complicated, problematical placement in time than simple past alone suggests. This enclosing effect continues after the semicolon, which itself heralds dependency, and is indeed followed by a convoluted conditional clause that comprises the last six lines of the eight-line stanza. "The colon after ‘said' implies an appositive clause equal in value to what went before, here the thoughts of the miller's wife as she waited by the dead fire." "'There are no millers anymore,' / Was all that she had heard him say" closes the parenthesis of past perfect tense that the first line opens, containing within it the miller's actual words, which Beebe and the reader can take to be the...
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