Miniver Cheevey by Edwin Arlington Robinson
assailed – attacked
albeit – even though; although
diction – choice of words
incessantly – without stopping
Questions and Answers
1. Why does Miniver Cheevy drink and accomplish so little?
Miniver Cheevy accomplishes very little because he is fixated on how much more exciting life must have been in earlier centuries.
2. What does Robinson refer to when he uses the words “iron clothing”?
Robinson refers to suits of armor.
3. The last two lines of the next-to-last stanza read: “Miniver thought, and thought, and thought, And thought about it.”
What is the effect of the repetition of the phrase “and thought”? Why do you think Robinson did not simply write “Miniver thought about it repeatedly”?
Answers may vary. Example: The repetition mimics Miniver’s actions, allowing the reader to truly feel the passing and wasting of time as Miniver dwells on his state.
4. What are the possible allusions in Miniver Cheevy’s name?
Answers may vary. Example: Miniver could be a reference to Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom (the Greek Athens). Cheevy might be a pun on achieve. These combined could indicate that the subject of the poem is intelligent, but does not actually do much but think and dream.