"Song about the end of the world" by Czesław Miłosz
"Song about the end of the world" was included in the volume "Ocrzenie" published in 1945. Miłosz deals with the topic of war and occupation in a rather surprising way. There is no point in looking for cruelty in his work, but there are idyllic images of everyday life.
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1. "Song about the end of the world" - interpretation
The title itself is surprising. Miłosz reached for the oxymoron. The song is associated with something light, pleasant. It evokes positive associations. In turn, the end of the world breeds terror. The light form of expression was thus contrasted with a topic that contradicts this genre.The author's goal was to look at the end of the world from a distance.
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Miłosz points out that the day of the end of the world does not stand out in any particular way. It is the same as the previous one, although previously there was no sign of extinction. The signs which, as St. John in the Apocalypse - were to herald the end of the world.
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People brought up in Christian culture expected catastrophic images. They expected thunder, lightning, archangel's trumpets. Meanwhile, the world is slowly ending. Bees are still collecting nectar, the sun is shining, people are walking.
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2. "There will be no other end of the world ..."
The final lines of Miłosz's poem evoke the figure of a prophet. And he is different than he was imagined. He is calm, composed and busy growing tomatoes. His attitude is worth imitating: despite the end of the world, he wants to live peacefully, simply. He also does not want to prophesy, because without it there will be bets. He does not make any preparations because it makes no sense. You have to be ready every day, because it is not known when life will end for us.
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The war destroyed everything. It has deprived people of everyday life and commonness. She robbed me of my dignity. And it didn't take thunder or lightning to bring the world to an end. The nightmare was common and banal, devoid of pathos. Just like when the German army crossed the Polish border in 1939 on a clear September day. The attack was sudden, completely unexpected. But for many people, this is where the world ended.
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3. Czesław Miłosz during the war and occupation
On the day of the outbreak of World War II, Czesław Miłosz was 28 years old. He went to his homeland, Lithuania, but after the annexation of the country by the Soviets in June 1940, he fled to Warsaw. In the capital, he worked and continued to write. However, the war left its mark on his work. However, he wrote about it in a different way than, for example, Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński, Zofia Nałkowska or Gustaw Herling Grudziński.
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"Song about the end of the world" is almost cheerful in its pronunciation. It has a deeply philosophical character, quite characteristic of the works of Czesław Miłosz.