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by Marianne Moore

Lines 13-14 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 13

Nor was he insincere in saying, "Make my house your inn."

  • The father's quote comes to an end, and we finally get our speaker back.
  • Unfortunately, the speaker doesn't really answer any of our questions, including the Million Dollar Question: how does she feel about what her father says? Does she agree or disagree with him? She keeps her feelings to herself.
  • However, the speaker does suggest that her father believes what he says. The word "nor" connects her father's quote above to the quote that follows and suggests that both statements are not "insincere."
  • Notice, though, that she's not showing a whole lot of enthusiasm here. Instead of saying that he was totally sincere, she says "not insincere." It's kind of like she's saying, "Well, he wasn't exactly lying, buuut…"
  • When we hear "inn," we first think of Holiday Inn. An inn is a place you stay for a night, or a few nights, while traveling.
  • The speaker's father probably didn't have a Holiday Inn in mind, though. Now we have these large chain hotels and motels where people basically check in, sleep, and check out. But a hundred years ago, you were more likely to stay at a (non-chain) inn, where you could eat your meals, chat a bit with the innkeeper, and rent a bedroom-like room. Inns often had bars or restaurants on their first floor, where both travelers and locals could hang out, since the rooms didn't yet have pay-per-view.
  • "Make my house your inn" sounds like a phrase you'd see embroidered and hanging over an old lady's doorway or painted onto a decorative plate. Even if you've never heard or seen it before, doesn't it immediately sound slightly cheesy and clichéd, similar to "Mi casa es tu casa"? ("My house is your house.")

Lines 14

Inns are not residences.

  • OK, mi casa is not tu casa. If you took the phrase "Make my house your inn" to mean "Make yourself at home," you're out of luck. The speaker tells us that the phrase's emphasis is on the word "inn." An inn is a place you stay temporarily. It is not your home.
  • Finally, in this last line, the speaker shows us how we should be reading the rest of the poem. If we read quickly and without thinking too much, we could easily make assumptions about certain phrases' meanings. We could just assume that "Make my house your inn" means that the father loves having guests and wants them to feel welcome.
  • However, if we read more carefully and try to understand the phrase's more subtle interpretations, we can see that the complete opposite meaning is possible. Remember: "The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence." This means: read between the lines!
  • Try to understand those things that are implied, in addition to those things said directly, because even silence can be meaningful.

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