Reading Questions on Wallace Stevens’ Poems
“A Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock”
1. What does the speaker make a point to name all the colors?
-He is trying to explain that the majority of people are plain, boring, and dull.
2. Why does the sailor have such a vivid dream?
-He is out of the “normal” comfort zone, he travels, he’s drunk, and he is outside of the house.
3. What is the theme/message of this poem?
-Get out of your comfort zone, and be different.
“Farewell to Florida”
4. What examples of visual imagery help to illustrate the poem? List three.
1.Key West sank downward under massive clouds, and silvers and hrees spread over the sea.
2. Her south of pine and coral and coraline sea.
3. The trees like bones and the leaves half sand, half sun.
5. What does the speaker leave in the third and fourth stanzas?
-The speaker is leaving Florida.
6. Where does the speaker head in the last stanza?
-The speaker is heading somewhere north that is cold, lifeless and dull.
“A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts”
7. What is the rabbit’s adversary?
-The fat cat.
8. Why would the rabbit be the king of the ghosts?
-Because rabbits are quick moving animals that almost look like white bursts of light when they pass by.
9. What does the following line mean? “You become a self that fills the four corners of night.”
-You become the only thing that consumes the whole world, that you know of.
“Anecdote of the Jar”
10. What happens after the jar is placed upon a hill?
-The wilderness swallowed it up.
11. What might the jar represent?
-The jar represents us, and the fact that the wilderness will continue on without the need of the human footprint. Time goes on.
“The Emperor of Ice Cream”
12. What items are mentioned by the speaker of the poem?
-Big cigars, newspapers, cups full of curds, flowers, ice-cream.
13. What do those items all have in common?
-All of these things are short in their lifespan.
14. What would it mean to be the emperor of ice cream?
-You are all living a short life. We are living a brief life, that only captures a glimpse of time.
“Peter Quince at the Clavier”
15. What does the speaker equate music with?
-The speaker equates music with the beauty of life. It is a feeling not just sound.
16. If the body dies, then how does the body’s beauty live as suggested in Stanza IV?
-The speaker suggests that the body’s beauty lives on through the flesh.