Alnilam Summary
James Dickey

Everything you need to understand or teach Alnilam by James Dickey.

  • Alnilam Summary & Study Guide

Alnilam Summary

In Dickey's poem "Diabetes," the narrator goes blind because of his illness, and the poem develops some of the themes that Dickey would expand in Alnilam. He cannot find a justification for his own mortality: the loss of youthful powers is irreplaceable by wisdom of any nourishing vision of the remainder of life. There are no rituals or rites of passage for the mid-life adult male to undertake to redeem himself. He can only dread further loss of powers, or remember with poignance the range of his youthful passions. Other major concerns of his poetry are the living person's identification with the dead, mysticism, the world of animals, the divisions of light and darkness, and inner and outer reality.

Frank Cahill is this poetic persona on a quest to rediscover, not his own, but his son's youth, and through his affair with Hannah attempts regenerative restoration. But as in...

(read more from the Short Guide)

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Alnilam Short Guide

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