Eight O'Clock │ Four Levels │ Summary │ English │ A. E. Houseman

Eight O'Clock

Eight O' Clock │ A. E. Houseman
- A. E. Houseman

Literal Comprehension:

The main character in the brief drama stood and heard the clock tower striking the quarter bells every fifteen minutes. He is going to be executed early in the morning at eight o'clock. He couldn't sleep because it's hard for him to accept his death. The bell was heard all over the town in the morning.

It pushed the people out reminding them of their duty. As the unavoidable hour was coming near, he stood and counted bell and cursed his luck because the unpleasant event was about to take place. When the clock struck eight collecting its strength, he was marked for certain death.


In this poem, we can identify how time can kill a person at any moment. The central idea here is that the coming new clock might be the dark side to a pessimistic person.

Similarly, time spread to every person, but the situational approach prepares them a victims of adverse circumstances. We can also predict that morning does not always shine but it can be a dark evening too, which symbolizes the negative emotion to a depressed person.

Eight O'Clock │ Four Levels

Critical Thinking:

I am really impressed by the sense of the master image of the poet that the poem is extraordinary for giving deep meaning between the relation between running time and life and death.

But, I had also imagined some irregular philosophy of life in this poem. They are:

  • Life and death is a natural process. So, why anyone should curse nature?

  • What nature is featured by the protagonist in this poem? Not clearly justified.

  • If the protagonist knows the time is limited and death is inevitable, then why should he curse his luck?


Time flies like an arrow. After reading this poem I realized that we must not let ourselves be executed by the flow of time.

Also, if we can't fight against the power of pauseless time it is better to look at the dark side of life. Because just living is not enough, one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower in his life.

-- 𓐴𓐴𓐴 --

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