What does this stanza in the poem "Night Shift" mean? What are the important elements of this stanza? Explain and analyse the stanza.
13 Till the thudding source, exposed,
14 confounded in wept guesswork:
15 Framed in windows of Main Street’s
16 Silver factory, immense
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In this stanza the speaker apparently succeeds in tracking down the sound that has been disturbing her all evening; the source is finally 'exposed' as coming from an industrial factory. The line 'Confounded in wept guesswork' is rather cryptic; the closest meaning perhaps one can derive from this is that the speaker had already guessed the source of the sound, but is still disturbed by the appearance of the factory which dominates the 'Main Street' of the town.'Guesswork' is also perhaps a slight play on the word 'gasworks,' which would tie in with the poem's overall industrial theme.
The strong auditory imagery that is so important to the poem as a whole is also present in this stanza. The word 'thudding' is an example of onomatopoeia, that is, the use of a word that resembles the sound which it describes. The sheer enormity and overwhelming power of this industrial complex is concisely summed up in the final word of the stanza, 'Immense.'
As with the rest of the poem, the tone is quite matter-of-fact in this stanza, at least on the surface. Digging a little deeper, one is aware of the speaker's unease at the sights and sounds of the industrial age which permeate the very quiet street where she lives, yet which no-one else seems to give a thought to (as described in an earlier stanza). The overall dehumanizing effect of the machinery is stressed in the very first line of the poem: its sound is 'not a heart', but something vast, hard, emotionless and impersonal.
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