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On the Threshold Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 17 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of On the Threshold.
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Stanza 1

"On the Threshold" is addressed to an unnamed interlocutor, "you," in a walled orchard or garden. Montale later wrote that the companion he addressed was a woman, although this is not apparent in the poem itself. The poem begins with the speaker telling his companion to "Be happy" if there is a wind in the orchard that carries with it "the tidal surge of life." The wind is a metaphor (a word or phrase used in place of another word or phrase, suggesting a likeness between the two) for a fresh wave of life, untainted by the past. Otherwise, the orchard is just a "dead web / of memories" that is not really a garden at all but a "reliquary." A reliquary is a small box or chest in which relics are kept and shown, and a relic is something from the past that is kept as...

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This section contains 753 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the On the Threshold Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
On the Threshold from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.