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Dover Beach

Dover Beach

by Matthew Arnold

Naked Shingles

Symbol Analysis

This is such a pure and utterly bleak image that we think it deserves special attention. The speaker of this poem has a bunch of different ways of describing the desolation of the modern world. For our money, this is one of the best moments, one of the strongest expressions of that feeling of hopeless emptiness and vulnerability.

  • Line 28: In this line "shingles" means the rocks that lie on the shore. So what Arnold is doing is picking up the imagery of the coastline that he worked so hard to establish in the first stanza and turning it into something evil-sounding and scary. The coast the speaker can see is calm and comforting. The naked, empty metaphorical coast in his mind is anything but.

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