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Skunk Hour

Skunk Hour

by Robert Lowell

Skunk Hour Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What do you think the speaker's relationship is to the Maine town? How do you think he feels about the place?
  2. How do you think the speaker feels about the people in town? How can you tell?
  3. Speaking of other people, what is the effect of spending the entire first half of the poem talking about other people before finally, in the fifth stanza, the speaker mentions himself?
  4. In the fifth stanza, when you come upon the line, "my mind's not right," how does this affect your reading of the poem? Do you trust or mistrust the speaker and what he has to say? Does it help explain or justify what has come before this declaration?
  5. Why end on the image of the skunk? It seems there's already so much invested in the town, the townspeople, and especially the speaker, so why end on a scavenging skunk?

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