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Variations on Nothing Themes

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 Variations on Nothing.
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Endurance of the Inanimate over the Human

The single dominant theme in "Variations on Nothing" is the endurance of inanimate things over human life. The title itself seems to mock humans in touting the variety of nothingness that exists in the world—an existence that outlasts even earth's highest forms. To make the point clear, Ungaretti offers five distinct examples to support the poem's central idea, and the concrete images serve to make the main point easier to visualize.

The first stanza comprises two variations, and the first two lines make up variation 1. These lines describe nothing more than sand sliding down an hourglass and settling at the bottom without making a sound. Any significance this image may hold is downplayed in the beginning, but it is only the first of several seemingly "negligible" incidents in the much larger scheme of life. Lines 3 and 4 introduce variation 2, this time the...

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This section contains 720 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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.