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Love After Love

Love After Love

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Love After Love

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  1. Love After Love Explore the poems meanings Examine the language used by Walcott to express his ideas

  2. What’s the poem about? • This poem is about self-discovery. • Walcott suggests that we spend years assuming an identity, but eventually discover who we really are • This is like two different people meeting and making friends and sharing a meal together

  3. Love After Love The tone in the first verse seems joyful The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome, And say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self.Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you This is impossible. So what could it mean? What could this mean? Christian Imagery. Is this positive All your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, The photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life. This may mean the narrator is entering a new life. Or can you see other meanings? The poem uses a darker tone. Why?

  4. Prediction for the future: positive outlook Walcott talks of discovering yourself, understanding yourself The time will comewhen, with elation,you will greet yourself arrivingat your own door, in your own mirror,and each will smile at the other's welcome,And say, sit here. Eat.You will love again the stranger who was yourself.Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heartto itself, to the stranger who has loved youall your life, whom you ignoredfor another, who knows you by heart.Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,the photographs, the desperate notes,peel your own image from the mirror.Sit. Feast on your life. Written in the second person. Why? Why have you become a stranger to yourself? Mostly this poem is iambic which mirrors English speech patterns and gives this poem a conversational tone

  5. Why have you become a stranger to yourself? We spend our lives accommodating others and thus our true self becomes a stranger. Could the poem be suggesting that this is a bad thing but one from which we will recover? We have ignored ourselves in order to accommodate a lover/partner but this partner could never know us as well as this ‘stranger’ will. Pick out quotations that support both views. Are there any that disprove either view? Are there any other interpretations?

  6. This is a time for calm and reflection, at what stage of life might this be? If this is old age/near death, who else could the stranger be? The time will comewhen, with elation,you will greet yourself arrivingat your own door, in your own mirror,and each will smile at the other's welcome,And say, sit here. Eat.You will love again the stranger who was yourself.Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heartto itself, to the stranger who has loved youall your life, whom you ignoredfor another, who knows you by heart.Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,the photographs, the desperate notes,peel your own image from the mirror.Sit. Feast on your life.

  7. Does this poem have a hidden reproachful message? Imagine the poem is post-death; what does that do to the meaning? The time will comewhen, with elation,you will greet yourself arrivingat your own door, in your own mirror,and each will smile at the other's welcome,And say, sit here. Eat.You will love again the stranger who was yourself.Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heartto itself, to the stranger who has loved youall your life, whom you ignoredfor another, who knows you by heart.Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,the photographs, the desperate notes,peel your own image from the mirror.Sit. Feast on your life. You come to know yourself again and are pleased Religious feast with a ‘stranger’ who loves you You have ignored this ‘stranger’ in favour of wordly things Remove the false image of yourself from the mirror; see the truth Perhaps we ignore God and focus on ourselves and our lives. Could Walcott be suggesting we shouldn’t or that it just doesn’t matter?

  8. Remember: • Poems can and SHOULD be interpreted in different ways • Love After Love is generally accepted as being a happy, positive poem but, as we’ve seen, it can be viewed in other ways • Use phrases like: • “…could suggest…” • “…may be understood as…” • “…may be…but equally, could also be…”

  9. Use your notes and answer the following in full sentences, using quotations when appropriate • What do you think this poem means? Why does the poet imagine someone as being like two different people at the same time? • How important is it for us to recognize what we are really like and accept ourselves for this? • Why is the poem written to “you” rather than about “me”? Is the poet giving advice to everyone? • Why does the poem use images of feasting?

  10. Other Cultures? • Walcott is West Indian with a strong Methodist upbringing • This poem sees him using Christian religious imagery in a positive, constructive manner • Are there any other poems in the cluster which use religious imagery?