Prince – Sometimes it Snows in April

Introduction

Read the following questions and make notes, explaining your answer and giving examples.
You can answer the questions on the board at the end of this class.

1. What's the best time of year for going on holiday? 2. What dates in the year do you get together as a family? 3. Which is the saddest month? 4. Which is the best season for romance? 5. Which part of the year is the busiest for you?

6. Have a look at the quote below. Does it coincide with your view of April? 7. Why does the writer say April is the 'cruellest' month?
April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. T.S.Eliot - The Wasteland

Reading

1. Read the article below, and compare your ideas from question 7. in the Introduction.

What did T.S. Eliot mean when he said that April is the cruelest month?

In the northern hemisphere, April is classically associated with spring. This is classic Eliot topsy-turviness. April is cruel? How can April be cruel? It’s spring; with flowers and mild weather and sex and love in the air.

He’s giving us an insight into a mind that doesn’t revel in these things as might be expected. “breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land” is a very heavy, depressed way to describe the blooming of flowers. He sees the same things as everyone else, but there is no joy there. “mixing/Memory and desire, stirring/Dull roots with spring rain”; a sense of loss and longing, of being rooted in the past, and spring re-awakening memories of things that have passed. By comparison; “Winter kept us warm” “forgetful snow”; these things suggest a state of comfortable emotional hibernation.

An old literature teacher once put it thus; when your arm is numb, you don’t feel it. But when the blood flows again, and the pins and needles come, suddenly you know about it. It’s not (emotional) numbness that hurts; it’s the return of feeling.

Anyone who has dealt with long-term depression can probably feel the connection to what Eliot is describing here, and it does a fantastic job of leading in to the rest of the poem, which deals excruciatingly with depression and memory.

In summary; April is the cruellest month because the life and colour of spring throws one’s depression into stark relief and forces painful memories to surface.

Article by Chris Day at Quora (Link opens on new page.)

2. For questions A-C decide if the statement is true or false.

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Listening


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Writing

Look at the T.S. Eliot poem and the lyrics from Sometimes it Snows in April below (PDF opens on new page)
In 100-150 words, describe the similarities and differences between the two pieces in relation to spring.
PDF Poem and Lyrics