English Final: Quote Identifications

Quote Identification -Piece-Author-Role within plot-Overall significance
“Let us go then, you and I, / When the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table;” This quote comes from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot. This is the first line of the poem, in which Prufrock is inviting you, the reader, on a trip through the city. This slightly odd comparison of the evening sky and a patient strapped to an operating table and given anesthetics sets the tone for the rest of the poem.
“The apparition of these faces in the crowd/ petals on a wet, black bough.” This quote is an entire poem entitled “In a Station of the Metro” by Ezra Pound. He wrote it while in a Paris metro station as he was looking at all the faces surrounding him. He compares their faces to flowers on a tree, or “petals on a wet, black bough.”
“No-Gatsby turned out alright at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.” This quote comes from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Gatsby has successfully achieved the American Dream, however the dream comes at a price. The “foul dust” will follow him and prey on him forever. This “foul dust” could represent his true dream that was never accomplished, winning the love of Daisy. It could also represent the things in his past he did to get that point.
“What did I do to be so black and blue?” This quote is a lyric from the song “(What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue” by Louis Armstrong. It is mentioned in the prologue to Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. The narrator says that he wishes he had 5 record players to listen to Armstrong, because he likes to feel the vibration of the music as well as hearing it, and he imagines descending into breaks within the music. He respects Armstrong for making art out of invisibility.
“April is the cruelest month, breeding/ Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain.” This quote is from “The Waste-Land” by T.S. Eliot. Though most people usually think of spring as a time of happiness, the speaker in this poem talks about how it is an awful time of year, stirring up memories of bygone days and unfulfilled desires. For the speaker, spring rain and this time of rebirth only stirs “dull roots” and memories of a happier past.
“There died a myriad,/ And of the best, among them,/ for an old bitch gone in the teeth, For a botched civilization.” This quote is from Part V. of Hugh Selwyn Mauberly by Ezra Pound. Pound is talking about a “myriad,” or a lot of, men who died in WWI. He says that some of the “best” men of the time were among them, and they died for a “botched civilization,” an ugly modern world not worth fighting for. He even compares modern civilization to “an old bitch gone in the teeth.” Basically, he is saying that going to war to defend culture was an empty gesture, since culture was already broken.
“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind.” This quote is from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. It was meant to call attention to the social position of African Americans at that time. Instead of introducing himself, the narrator introduces his invisibility. He explains that he is invisible only because others refuse to see him because of his skin color. He states that he is not a “spook” or a ghost, or a “Hollywood-movie ectoplasm.” He is an actual person with a mind.

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