Wednesday, February 15, 2017
The Disillusionment of Wednesday I
The Blog's Shakespearean, who is a real live professor of English literature, recently mentioned that she was working on some examples of bad poetry criticism. For, you know, pedagogical purposes. I asked for a peek, and as someone who has read a lot of bad student and academic writing, I'm afraid I thought they were a lot of fun, and my immediate thought was "Ooh! Ooh! I, too, want to write bad poetry criticism!" And so I did.
The poem to which we are applying our inept exegesis is Wallace Stevens's perfectly respectable "The Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock." The Shakespearean's critiques were rather restrained, since they needed to seem like plausible and, um, non-insulting examples of typical student work. Mine were a little more flamboyant. What approach will you take? Send your analysis to me, Michael5000, at Michael5000 \at\ gmail!
Color is Important in this Poem
Color is important in this poem. It starts off by saying that, “The houses are haunted by white night-gowns.” This suggests ghosts to me because of “haunted” and because we think of ghosts as being like white sheets or as being people wearing white sheets, which we often see in the movies where people dress up like ghosts to scare away people from houses for various reasons. “Haunted” has negative connotations. The speaker doesn’t say that there are people inside the nightgowns, which adds to the idea that they are ghosts. Bright colors have positive connotations because they are cheery. In this case they might be too bright since purple and green clash. They wouldn’t be good for ghosts, though, which is a good thing since ghosts are negative. Socks of lace and beaded ceintures don’t really have any positive or negative connotations that I can think of. They don’t sound comfortable to sleep in. I don’t know how the speaker knows that people aren’t going to dream of baboons and periwinkles. Periwinkle is a color, so that may connect to the bright colors earlier. The old sailor is associated with a color, too, since he catches tigers in red weather, but he is drunk and sleeps in his boots, which has negative connotations. Color is very important in this poem.