Chief Wor16

Chief Wor16 - Chief Works Begun in the mid-1920s and...

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Unformatted text preview: Chief Works Begun in the mid-1920s and completed in 1936, Tate's "Ode to the Confederate Dead," his most anthologized work, questions whether his contemporaries are capable of true honor to the past. The poem, a free-flowing, private meditation, opens on irony by employing the Pindaric ode, a lyric, metrically precise form intended for public reading to honor a single hero. Instead of narrowing his focus on one person, the poet broadens his scope to the unified body of war dead and to the spiritually dead community that suffers eroded ties with history. The unidentified cemetery visitor envies military casualties for their sense of purpose at "Shiloh, Antietam, Malvern Hill, Bull Run," in part because he lacks their understanding of myth. His dislocation stems from a modern narcissism, expressed by the headlong self-destructive leap of the jaguar toward "his own image in a jungle pool,...
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