09.02.11

Prompt #2: for Tuesday, September 6th and Thursday September 8th, 2011

Posted in prompts at 11:37 am by Dominique

Hi everyone,

Thank you once more for your patience with the very frustrating technical glitches we faced during yesterday’s class session. I think I have discovered the issue with the laptop/projector set-up and should be able to avoid it from now on. We will begin Tuesday’s class with by viewing and critiquing the clip we were going to watch yesterday.

If you have not yet posted comments for prompt #1, please do so asap. I have read the comments carefully (and see four that are pending approval) and will check back again tomorrow. I will mention a few things I notice about your responses at the start of Tuesday’s class as well.

So, on to our next assignment… EVERYONE in the course has reading to do this weekend. The reading includes a chapter from Charles Bressler’s Literary Criticism (available on Amazon and currently in stock at the QC Bookstore–pages are noted on the syllabus). There are also a handful of poems that I will post on the “course readings” page shortly. Please come to class on Tuesday prepared to critique these poems (in writing) from the perspective of a New Critic.

This week’s prompt:

The What (for main bloggers only): Using the elements from the New Critic’s toolkit on your handout, conduct your own analysis (of approximately 500 words) of “The Snow Man.” If you are unsure of any of these elements, refer to Bressler’s chapter. (I recommend reading this before completing your analysis.) Please address as many elements of close reading as possible (but at least FIVE of them). Also, you must answer the question, “Where/what is the key tension in the poem? How does the poem achieve meaning by resolving that tension?”

In response to the two main bloggers, commentators should look to highlight additional elements of form that the writers have not yet addressed, agree or disagree with the central “tension” the writers uncover and explain why, or–for those who feel very comfortable with this method of criticism already–discuss the ways that the reading is successful as a new critical approach to Stevens’ poems but leaves something to be desired as an overall approach to reading literature. Look back at “the what” of the prompt. What more can be said about this poem? Please post a clear, precise response of 150-200 words (though more is okay too). You may respond as a comment beneath the main bloggers’ responses.

The Why: To practice applying the New Critical (or Formalist) approach we discussed yesterday

The When: Primary Bloggers — Monday, Sept. 5th, by midnight,  Responders–Wednesday, September 7th, by midnight

The Who: Main Bloggers for this week are Gordom Tam and Steven Eng. (At the end of the week, they will pass the torch to two bloggers of their choice.)

Good luck–and have a great holiday weekend,

Dominique

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


24 Comments

  1.    GordonWTam said,

    September 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    In “The Snow Man”, by Wallace Stevens, everything is dictated to us in an incredibly concise way and made to hit us in the face. We are immediately treated to images seen by this “snow man”. We are also privy to other feelings of the “snow man” also. First we see the world coated in the frost and glittering snow, then we hear the sounds of this miserable winter including the harsh winds and can almost feel them. All symbols including the January sun and the fact there are very few leaves are all there to make us think winter. But while concise and almost simplistic, it is also incredibly profound. At first, nothing appears to have any kind of double entendre, as this poem is written so simple, but as the poem wears on everything takes on a new meaning. Stevens starts us off by only describing what it’s like to be this “snow man” but by the end we are transformed into it, seeing and feeling everything that the snow man sees and feels. I think something to take note of is the usage of some words he chose. Through usage of words like “behold” and “regard” we start to realize that these are things that really only a human can do, helping us transform into this snow man.

    A large paradox I found was this. In transforming us into this snow man, Stevens has a very conflicting way of doing so. In the beginning we are treated to delicious snowy imagery, which in reality, a snowman would not be able to see and feel. But as we become the snow man towards the end, we are suddenly feeling and hearing nothing, as a real snowman should. Basically, when we were an inanimate object made of snow and coal for eyes we felt and saw more than we did as true blooded humans sitting there in the end in the snow “beholding” nothing.

    The key tension in my opinion occurs in the last stanza, when the reader suddenly has become the snow man and is left with a question as to whether this snow man is what we make out of snow and give a carrot nose or actually a man. The reason for such ambiguity is that suddenly we are feeling and seeing nothing in this last stanza, even though before we were able to hash things out pretty well. I think it’s quite clear that this IS in fact a human being, albeit a very cold, misery driven one. This snow man is doing things an inanimate object definitely could not, and in the end, views everything and even himself as nothing. A more obvious answer came after I consulted the dictionary. Stevens has already given us his solution to our key tension in the title. There is no given definition for “Snow Man”. If we look up “snowman” we get the three large balls of snow with coal for eyes and maybe a scarf and top hat. After coming to this conclusion, I think we can begin to see a little of what truly unifies this poem. Maybe this is too simple a solution for a tension, but as new critics we have to analyze each word with such scrutiny. Just by putting a space between snow and man, Stevens has told us this is truly a human being, with a mind of winter.

  2.    Dominique said,

    September 6, 2011 at 6:47 am

    Dominique posting on behalf of Steven Eng.

    Steven said,

    In the poem “The Snow man,” Stevens uses many literary elements to create a theme of humanity for the readers. His use of diction, imagery, personification, and point of view are seen throughout the poem. In the first stanza the author chooses right away to put the reader into the point of view of the snow man. “One must have a mind of winter,” the reader tries to identify himself with the snow man. The reader is able to see the frost on the pine trees through the eyes of the Snow man. In the second stanza the reader sees “the Junipers shagged with ice,” the element of imagery is used to show the reader a scene of winter from the view point of the snow man. The reader can as connote that the snow has been there for a while because the snow had turn into ice. The third stanza shows elements of diction. “Misery” in association with the word “wind” connotes that the wind is brutal when felt by a person, but to the snow man on the other hand is unaffected by the cold. The snowman is then given another human like quality in the fourth stanza. The Snow man is able to hear the sound of the nature.

    The key tension in the poem is that the Snow man has human like qualities. It is outside in the cold and it has feelings. At the end of the poem the reader is brought back to reality. The Snow man is stripped of all its human qualities, the author tells the readers “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is,” meaning that if you didn’t imagine it then it wouldn’t be anything in the first place. The human like qualities that readers saw at the beginning of the poem starts to see The Snow man as not a man at all, but a snowman.

  3.    emina said,

    September 6, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    To analyze a poem takes time, patience and multiple times of reading and sometimes we still do not know what the main message of the poem is. This is why it is important as a New Critic to read and reread as many times as possible. We have to de-familiarize our selves, and this is what Gordom and Steven did in their response to “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens.
    They both stated that the “tension” by the end of the poem is that there is some kind of transition going from a man to a snow man. The last stanza which is very important and stands out, shows how the snow man developed human like qualities, as Steven points out in his response. Both Gordom and Steven explain the images that were used in the poem. They were concise with the fact that it was winter, except the January sun and the leaves. The fact that Stevens stayed concise with his imagery shows that he has a sense of organic unity, because everything you needed to understand in his poem was already given to you while reading. Overall, I agreed with both of the analyzations of the poem, I believe that all together that the poem was unified.

  4.    jenn691 said,

    September 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Analyzing a poem in the mindset of a new critic never successfully occurs at its first reading. For me, I had to read this poem a few times to get the basic understanding and comprehend the central theme of Stevens personifying the Snowman as a human like figure, and what I have analyzied through disecting this poem is a combination of what Gordan and Steven have both derived.

    I agree with Gordan that we are definitely transformed from a snow man into reality, firstly getting a sense into the coal eyes of what a snowmna must be every winter. As children, we love to play in the snow, take pictures of its glistening scenery of perfection, and dream of a “white Christmas” but Stevens is showing us that for the snow man, he can never enjoy these images because as in the thirs stanza states, he cannot feel anything anymore so he cannot feel the harsh winds and it’s affects. Both Steven and Gordan were correct when stating there is an obvious transformation from personification into reality and getting us humans to look into the bigger picture that we would normally think is so unimaginable as to think maybe a snowman can have feelings and what it would be like if there was such thing.

  5.    marissae17 said,

    September 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Reading “Russian Formalism and New Critricism” really helped me understand a more clear and precise way of going about New Critisism. One of the terms that stood out in my eye was poetic truth- forming a truth by the use of imagination and intuition. This stood out on my mind while reading The Snow Man because it let me imagine and take into account that Stevens might not be talking about a physical snowman but more of a man that associates himself with snow.

    I agree with both Gordon and Steven as far as what they both mentioned about the last stanza of the poem and how a major transformation goes on and leaves the reader wondering, is it a Snow Man, somebody who associates themself with snow or an physical Snowman who has coal for buttons and a carrot nose? However, I do agree with Gordon that Stevens ends the poem with a physical man because the literal connotation of the title is Snow Man, not snowman.

  6.    beezy said,

    September 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Imagery plays an extremely important role in breaking down and understanding Wallace Stevens poem. I agree with both Gordon and Steven stressing such emphasis on the way words are used to bring life to ‘The Snow Man’. Such lines as “To regard the frost and the boughs/Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;” just jump out of the text and really give such a vivid image of what we are reading. Talk of harsh winds also bring life to the poem, almost sending a chill down ones spine.

    The last stanza, possibly the most important and revealing one, is also broken down very well by both Gordon and Steven yet again. We (readers) have become the snow man in a sense because one can vividly see what it’s like being out there in the cold, harsh winds in the dead of winter. On the contrary however, a snowman sees and feels nothing, much like what has happened by the last stanza, which begs the question, is this a man who’s lost all ability to feel due to being cold and alone too long? The connotation of the title itself is the Snow Man, not snowman. There is life, and human-like quality in the reading, with words such as misery and the act of beholding, something a snowman obviously lacks.

    -Enes Mrkulic

  7.    brianfinnerty91 said,

    September 7, 2011 at 1:51 am

    In the chapter titled “Russian Formalism and New Criticism”, we find out what New Criticism means. New Criticism enables the reader with a formula to acknowledge the main point of a text. New Critics like interpret poems to discover the main purpose of the poet for writing the poem. From the chapter we learn that to be a good critic one must show how the poem “supports its overall meaning by reconciling these tensions into a unified whole”. In the poem “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens many literary elements are being portrayed. These literary elements allow the new critic to understand the main meaning of the poem. By reading the poem multiple times we see and feel the effects of winter and how in someway we can be seen as the Snow Man in the poem. I really liked how both main bloggers connected the chapter to Stevens’ poem. Both Gordon and Steven critique the last stanza thoroughly. I also like how both Gordon and Steven write about the transformation that occurs to the “Snowman” throughout each stanza.
    -Brian Finnerty

  8.    acervinaro90 said,

    September 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Analyzing a poem as a new critic has been a definite challenge. As a few of my classmates have stated it took me more than one reading of the poem to actually begin to understand how to even go about analyzing this poem. New criticism is all about the text and what has been given to you. Everything you need to understand this poem is actually on that paper. Being new to this form of criticism it’s been hard to look at the text only and not include relativism. I definitely agree with Gordon and Steven. In the poem Wallace Stevens uses many literary elements especially personification. He uses that element throughout the whole poem giving the snow man human qualities. What really stood out to me is what Gordon wrote in his last paragraph that the snow is truly a human being with the mind of winter. I feel that this sentence was very powerful because after reading the poem over a few times I also began to feel that the snow man was really a real man who was miserable and depressed. Using winter was the perfect touch because most of the time it’s dark and damp. I feel that Gordon and Steven also gave me a chance go into a deeper understanding of the poem by pointing out some key points which made me actually get the past the surface thinking and go into deep thinking.

  9.    Christian Zapata said,

    September 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Analyzing this poem “The Snow Man” by Wallance Stevens wasn’t an easy task to accomplish being a new critic. The poem needed to be read more than twice to get somewhat of an understanding of what Wallance meant by writing this. I agreed with Gordon and believed he hit the target perfectly when he explained the last stanza and how the snow man is really a person. He was able to come to this conclusion by seeing the human characteristics such as his feelings. However Steven’s(blogger) response was similar to Gordon but the last stanza had different interpretations. As stated above Gordon viewed the ending as the “snow man” being a man with negative vibes but then Steven analyzed the ending as the “snow man” losing all his human characteristics hence being just a snow man. Both bloggers were right on the money when saying that there was a transformation from personification into reality and vice versa. This was also Gordon and Steven’s opinion on the “tension” within the poem.

  10.    awilliams108 said,

    September 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Reading this poem tells at first, that is was related to “No Man”. Reading it over and over till i get what is means was in the first line of the poem, “One” which refer to us as WE the readers. To me, basically, we are the ones who are the snowman and we see, hear, feel the winter. The great part that gave the poem away was but the words and phrases that he use to emphasis the main TEXT of the poem (The Snowman).

    NATURE DESCRIPTION: “The Snowman” was the “pine-tree crusted with snow” which is clear in meaning and the “Junipers shagged with ice”. The poem, was mostly recognize that there was something in the world of the snowman, but generally there was nothing there to it.

    MOODS: “Void”, is just the way we humans are in general, like behavior, attitude, morals. “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is” generally saying that there is nothing out there in the snow, just only bareness and stillness. Also saying that is sad, depressing see be in a place of a lot of snow and its boring, nothing to do.

    I notice the “AND’S” in few of the stanza, which to was like the poem was going to end, which force me to analyze it over and over again.
    To me this poem lets us see how the world is, at from the snowman’ position, by judgements, and human conditions.

  11.    victoriane said,

    September 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Like most of my classmates I had to read and re-read the poem The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens several times before I could find what the central “tension” was. I think this poem could be interpreted in different ways but I mostly agree with Gordon W. Tam. Mr. Stevens writes about a real man with chilled and unhappy thoughts that are being compared to winter. He uses imagery of winter to describe how cold and bare one can be. He starts the poem with “one must have a mind of winter,” what I get from this poem is that the Snow Man’s feelings are cold which is why he compares it to a snowman. The snowman was able to see and feel but the man could not. Like Gordon states, “when we were an inanimate object made of snow and coal for eyes we felt and saw more than we did as true blooded humans sitting there in the end in the snow “beholding” nothing.” I also think it was clever that Wallace Stevens titled the poem The Snow Man and not The Snowman. This makes me believe he is referring to a man that has snowman qualities because of his chilled thoughts.

  12.    nadiab said,

    September 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Using the New Critic approach, the reader has to treat the content given to them as an “object” and focus merely on the text. The reader also has to determine what the central tension is through analyzing the text structure. The poem, “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens is a good example of the use of literary elements. “The Snow Man” contains both imagery and symbols. The reader can visualize the winter scene Steven’s has created in his poem. The “junipers shagged with snow” and the “pine-trees crusted with snow” symbolize the elements of winter.

    Both Gordon and Steven did a very good analysis of the poem. They both interpreted the poem as a change from one thing to another. The use of literary elements helped in their interpretation. They analyzed what was given to them in the poem. However, I viewed the poem in a different way.

    In my interpretation, the poem gives us the point of view of not a “snowman” but a “snow man”. This is an individual who embraces the season of winter and has become one with the snow. The individual notices the finer qualities of winter such as the glittering of the snow. For the snow man, the “sound of the wind” and “the sound of a few leaves” is all part of this winter scene. I believe that Steven wanted to emphasize that the season has its own beauty making it a “winter wonderland”. Since there is beauty, there is no misery and there is nothing to worry about. The winter season will soon fade yet another season will begin, bringing us to the last line of Steven’s poem, “Nothing that is not there and nothing that is”.

  13.    steveocarpio said,

    September 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    When trying to explain and analyze this poem I find it quiet difficult but I feel like I have a new meaning then a few others when i read the poem. I feel this poem is about a man that is labeled as nothing, maybe cold hearted. The first stanza when it says “One must have a mind of winter. To regard the frost and the boughs,” right there I take that as one must have a cold heart, cold mind to actually see cold things, cold in this case for me being defined as nasty, dirty, or evil. In the end it says “And, nothing himself, beholds. Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” There are so many nothings being thrown out there, like maybe the mind of the person, (snow man) who does bad. I looked around to see and there are many ways to define this poems, some side are even not identical at all, but i feel that winter in this poem is described so much to decorate the man’s cold mind.

    I agree with both bloggers that in the end a sense of mystery is left on us to discover, the last stanza was clearly the tense point as when I read the poem over and over, the last stanza is what bout out my own analysis.

  14.    khaff88 said,

    September 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    To be honest, I still don’t quite understand the idea of new criticism. I had to read the poem “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens several times to grasp what was going on. The readings we were assigned did in fact help and made this assignment easier to understand. I noticed the way Stevens described his surroundings, the way he mentioned the pine-trees and how he described snow as “distant glitter”. Stevens really sets up the reader to know exactly where he is, while reading this I felt the sense of coldness he was trying to relate to.
    Going back to the texts from our readings I was able to come to the idea that I do agree with Gordon’s opinion of the central tension. Stevens is making himself clear depicting the emptiness and loneliness of a snow man, as Gordon had said. I understand where Steven would have come up with his idea of the man losing his sense of being and relating to an actual snow man. Both opinions are solid answers to me, but I just happen to understand Gordon’s perspective first.

  15.    joshuak314 said,

    September 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    After reading the poem many times I disagree with what both bloggers say the key tension is. I personally believe that the key tension lies in the first line of the first two stanzas. These lines are “One must have a mind of winter” and “And have been cold a long time”. How exactly does one have a mind of winter? Do you literally stand outside in the cold or maybe you make yourself believe that you are the winter season. By personifying winter, the author has given the reader a decision as to how one must go about having a mind of winter. We can either take the literal meaning of the sentence and as I said before, make ourselves believe we are one of the four seasons, or we can take the connotative meaning and take this to mean that we must imagine ourselves in a specific position. The same goes for the first line of the second stanza as well. Is the author saying we must actually stand outside in the cold, or does it mean we must really “get into character”, really put ourselves in someone else’s position and forget about ourselves and who we are? That is the tension presented to us the reader.

    Before analyzing through elements of form, I first counted the syllables and words in each line. Although I couldn’t see anything important enough to note with the syllables, I noticed something interesting with the amount of words used in each line. The first two stanzas had 7 words in each line. After that, the uniformity of the word count in each line slowly gets broken. The third stanza had 8, 9 and 7 words in each line, the fourth had 7, 5, 8 and the fifth had 8, 4, 10. Before I go into detail on how I believe this is part of the organic unity of the poem, I will describe my view on the main point the author is trying to get across.

    I believe the author is trying to tell us that without putting ourselves in the position of others, we will never really understand them. Without “dying to self” as Christians put it, we will never be able to truly understand anything. When we forget about our own desires, emotions and attachments, we are then truly able to see the world around us. We then no longer see the world through our own jaded and corrupted eyes but see the world and all living things purely, as is. The number of words in each line reflects the author’s intentions as well. 7,7,7, the number associated with God and perfection. We believe ourselves to be perfect and try to view the world through our perfect eyes. The third stanza, 8, 9, 7. As we slowly forget about ourselves, we no longer view the world as miserable and sad “And not to think of any misery in the sound of the wind, in the sound of a few leaves.” Fourth stanza, 7, 5, 8. As more of ourselves disappear, we start zooming out of our own small limited point of view and start seeing the world as a whole, “Which is the sound of the land”. Fifth and last stanza 8, 4, 10. When we completely forget ourselves we realize the world is significant not only because of the noises coming from it and the noises which it creates but because of the silences as well. Like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart said “Silence is very important, the silence between the notes are as important as the notes itself.” The silences in our lives are as important as the sounds in it.

    I feel like I over analyzed this a little. Hope this doesn’t sound like complete nonsense to those reading.

  16.    amark916 said,

    September 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    This poem was very tough for me to analyze. I had to read it several times before I had an inkling of what Wallace Stevens was trying to convey to his readers. After reading with intensity, I realized that Wallace Stevens was saying that we are one with The Snow Man. The reader connects with the snowman and the listener, all of which understand the frozen, nakedness, and barrenness of winter. With that being said, both Steven and Gordon identified with the poem just as I did, keeping in mind that Wallace Stevens effectively uses organic unity throughout the entire poem. The theme of the poem is to identify with imagination and reality, which both Steven and Gordon touched on in their analysis. When observing as a New Critic, the most important thing to remember is that everything that is needed is in the text. As I read both of their points, it is clear that they both used an objective theory of art and were both able to dissect the text effectively.

  17.    nadiab said,

    September 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Using the New Critic approach, the reader has to treat the content given to them as an “object” and focus merely on the text. The reader also has to determine what the central tension is through analyzing the text structure. The poem, “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens is a good example of the use of literary elements. “The Snow Man” contains both imagery and symbols. The reader can visualize the winter scene Steven’s has created in his poem. The “junipers shagged with snow” and the “pine-trees crusted with snow” symbolize the elements of winter.

    Both Gordon and Steven did a very good analysis of the poem. They both interpreted the poem as a change from one thing to another. The use of literary elements helped in their interpretation. They analyzed what was given to them in the poem. However, I viewed the poem in a different way.

    In my interpretation, the poem gives us the point of view of not a “snowman” but a “snow man”. This is an individual who embraces the season of winter and has become one with the snow. The individual notices the finer qualities of winter such as the glittering of the snow. For the snow man, the “sound of the wind” and “the sound of a few leaves” is all part of this winter scene. I believe that Stevens wanted to emphasize that the season has its own beauty making it a “winter wonderland”. Since there is beauty, there is no misery and there is nothing to worry about. The winter season will soon fade yet another season will begin, bringing us to the last line of Steven’s poem, “Nothing that is not there and nothing that is”.

  18.    terrylghong said,

    September 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    In Gordon’s comment, I agree with him that how the author transfers us into a snow man, seeing and feeling everything that he sees and feels. In addition, I think sound of the winter, which is heard by the snow man, plays an important role in the poem. “Sound of the wind”, “sound of a few leaves” and “sound of the land” gives us some examples how does it like in the cold winter.
    In Steven’s comment, I agree with him that how the author makes up a character that can see, feel and hear. However, I think most of thing the snow man see, feel and hear are imaginary, not everything is real.
    Both Gordon and Steven got the point of the key tension which is the snow man could be an actual man. But besides that, it is also about the feeling of the Snow man. Snow man in my mind is a happy character. It brings joy and fun to the people. It shouldn’t be that empty and lonely. So it could be something interesting to think about it in this poem.

  19.    emendoza said,

    September 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Mendoza, E

    Wallace Stevens uses an abundant amount of imagery in his poem, The Snow Man, as the two main bloggers pointed out. While I agree with both Gordon and Steven’s interpretations of the poem, I could not help but notice that neither seemed to focus on that which we discussed in class, how “perfectly balanced” this poem was. Although I could not come up with a “proper” explanation, per se, of how I believe this poem is well balanced, I was willing to give it a shot anyway. It intrigued me a bit as to why Stevens would title the poem the Snow Man, with a space in between the words, as Gordon also took notice of. Ever since the idea of a perfectly balanced poem was brought up in class, every time I look at this poem I could not resist the temptation to look for some sort of sense in the proportions of this poem. Using Gordon’s response as somewhat of a guideline to assist myself to form anything close to a coherent explanation of “the balance,” I was able to come up with only this: I strongly support Gordon’s idea of the paradox present, of being both a Snow Man, and a snowman. I believe the balance lies in the reader’s ability to place oneself in both positions, as paradoxical as it may be. As a snowman, one loses his sense of humanity and is able to withstand the natural factors surrounding him, such as the cold wind, and yet as a man, one must retain his sanity and humanity with the most basic senses, to listen and feel and see nature around him. The more I dwell on the mixed ideas of balance and paradox, the more I believe that these ideas become more obvious when I reread the poem, stanza to stanza. While assuming both the roles of a snow man, and a snowman, one has to be mindless, inanimate, and feel nothing, and yet still be able to experience it all.

  20.    cass88163 said,

    September 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    After about the fourth time reading “The Snow Man”, I began to grasp the concept of what Stevens is demonstrating. In the first stanza he states “One must have a mind of winter”, using connotation to describe perhaps one that is anguish or cold. He uses imagery to portray this winter scene that we all can identify to during the winter seasons “Of the pine trees crusted with snow”, “the sound of only a few leaves”. The connection with man and SNOW man, Stevens is personifying that man himself becomes a Snowman; cold and lonely.

    The key tension in the poem occurs in the last stanza. Stevens stated “Nothing that is there, and the nothing that is”; expressing emptiness and loneliness, like a snow man. I agree with Gordon, the transformation of the man to the snowman. Stevens is depicting misery, coldness; one with a mind of winter.

  21.    Dominique said,

    September 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Posted on behalf of Jose Ruiz:
    To analyzing a poem one must read the poem until they grasp the full meaning of what the author is trying to get across? In the poem the snow man by Wallace Stevens has many literary elements that make a critic defining the meaning of the poem quicker. According both Gordon and Steven, I agree when they said that we transform into a snowman. I think they were both correct on that point. The last stanza is very important and I agree with Gordon tension that we are “truly a human being, with a mind of winter” meaning that we still are the snowman. I disagree with Steven “The human like qualities that readers saw at the beginning of the poem starts to see The Snow man as not a man at all, but a snowman.” I don’t think the snowman is stripped from all human quality. Overall, I agreed with both of the interception of the poem

  22.    Terry said,

    September 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Both Gordon and Steven performed great analyses on this poem. I like how they both observed the key tension of ‘snowman’ versus ‘Snow Man’. Wallace Stevens paints this image of a typical snowy expanse that a snowman might experience if it were capable. Without ever mentioning an actual snowman, Stevens manages to put the reader in it’s hypothetical perspective.
    Another theme in this poem that both Gordon and Steven hit on is a contrast between imagination and reality. Steven quoted the poem, “Nothing that is not there and nothing that is.”. This is a crucial line making the reader question whether this ‘Snow Man’ is human or just a personified lump of snow. Nevertheless, a transformation between imagination and reality is made in the last stanza of the poem.

  23.    rasuli said,

    September 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    In “The Snow Man,” Wallace explains the inability of humans to see the world around them without passing judgment or thinking of human condition. Through this poem, Wallace argues the differences between reality and imagination. Steven’s use of diction add to the image of the winter landscape he is trying to portray. The words “crusted,” “shagged,” and “rough,” give the vision of a very bare nature, and provide the sharpest, clearest image of nature, as seen through the eyes of the snowman. The reader is then exposed to phrases that allow them to hear with the acutest ear the cold images evoking the sense of barrenness and monotony: “sound of the wind,” “sound of a few leaves,” “sound of the land,” “same wind,” “same bare place,” “For the listener, who listens in the snow.” Even the word “few” before leaves signals that little life exists. These descriptions relate to humans, and the common feeling that winter is a time representative of death, monotony, and loneliness.
    Both Gordon and Steven give a good analysis of the poem using the New Critic approach. I agree with Gordon, there the last stanza where the key tension arises is somewhat ambiguous. The reader doesn’t know if this is a real man or an actual snow man. Gordon also says that suddenly we are feeling and seeing nothing in this last stanza, this goes back to the title of the poem “The Snow Man,” if you defamiliarize yourself with the title, it can also be read as “No Man”.

  24.    mary03 said,

    September 12, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    after reading the poem for several times , i kind of understand what “Wallace Stevens” is trying to convey in his poem. I used a few techiniques now that im learning to be a new critic, I read the poem more than once i looked up a few words that i didnt understand . I looked at the text it self as a object and I saw a few imagaery in the poem its self . In stanzas 1 and 2 , when he says ” one must have a mind of winter ” and to regard the frost and the boughs. “Wallace” is already putting winter in your mind . He also mentions the word cold and frost , also how in winter the wind sounds miserable and hollow … the poem itself gives you the organic unity and tension which are that the snow man is alone and empty and bitter just like winter. I agree with Gordon when he said that “Wallace” is saying a few words that only humans can feel or listen too. A snow man cant , so “Wallace” wanted the reader to be the snow man , but a snow man is not human , a snow man is just snow and cold and has no feelings . I feel the tension is gained and released with the last two stanzas which said “and nothing, himself,beholds ” nothing that is not there and the nothing that is “. a snow man is nothing ..

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Spam prevention powered by Akismet

Skip to toolbar