Edwin Arlington Robinson’s The Mill Essay

863 Words4 Pages
Edwin Arlington Robinson’s The Mill

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
…show more content…
“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 objective fulcrum upon which the rest of this intensely subjective poem balances.

It is even clearer that the past perfect is this stanza's essential condition of being when we come to the second past perfect verb, "had lingered," found in a clause subordinate to the one before. Thus, Lucius Beebe points out that Robinson sets up the stanza as a sort of verbal chandelier, with one clause hanging upon the meaning and mode of that before, and with the framework of past perfect verbs giving definition and tone to the whole. Robinson achieves much the same effect in the second stanza, which opens with the miller's wife "sick with a fear that had no form," which implies that the fear has a continuation in the past. Beebe implies that “a certain poetic inertia militates against supposing change, and much more is needed to indicate or certify such change than exists.” This hypothesis is reinforced by the rest of the stanza, a single sentence formed by a pair of past conditional clauses. "What he had meant," as direct object, parallels "What else

More about Edwin Arlington Robinson’s The Mill Essay

Get Access