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Variations on Nothing Essay

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Hill is the author of a poetry collection, has published widely in literary journals, and is an editor for a university publications department. In the following essay, Hill examines Ungaretti's intriguing imagery and his use of sand as a symbol of constant change and, in the poet's words, of "loneliness and nothingness."

Records of humankind's first attempts to communicate with one another do not exist, but it is safe to assume that among the words, gestures, or grunts of the earliest languages there was something that meant "nothing." The same is true for every language spoken in the world today, but perhaps few other words are used so commonly and understood so rarely. When a caller asks "What are you doing?" how often is the reply, "Nothing"? When one spouse asks the other, "What are you thinking about?" the common response is, "Nothing." And when a parent asks...

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This section contains 1,542 words
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Buy the Variations on Nothing Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Variations on Nothing from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.