About the Poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”
|Poem Title||Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird|
|Publication Year||1917 (first published in “Others: An Anthology of the New Verse”)|
|Structure||13 stanzas, each with a distinct perspective on blackbirds|
|Themes||Nature, perception, subjectivity, identity|
|Style||Modernist poetry, Imagism, uses concise and vivid imagery|
|Central Imagery||The blackbird, which serves as a symbol and focal point|
|Poetic Techniques||Use of vivid and concise imagery, metaphor, and allusion|
Themes of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
The themes of Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird“ are:
- Perception ➤ The poem explores how different people see the same thing in various ways.
- Identity ➤ It touches on the idea that our identity is shaped by how we see and understand the world.
- Subjectivity ➤ The poem highlights how our personal viewpoints and feelings influence our understanding of reality.
- Nature ➤ It uses the blackbird as a symbol of nature and the mysteries of life.
- Imagination ➤ The poem suggests that our imagination and interpretation play a big role in our understanding of the world.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird Summary & Analysis
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
In the first stanza, the speaker describes a scene in which the only moving thing is a blackbird’s eye. This image suggests that the blackbird is something special, set apart from the rest of the world.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
In the second stanza, the speaker says that there are three blackbirds. This could be a literal statement, or it could be a metaphor for the different ways in which we can see the same thing.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
In the third stanza, the speaker describes the blackbird whirling in the autumn winds. This image suggests that the blackbird is free and wild, and that it is connected to the natural world.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
In the fourth stanza, the speaker says that they and the blackbird are one. This could be a statement of empathy, or it could be a suggestion that the blackbird is a part of the speaker’s own being.
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
In the fifth stanza, the speaker repeats the statement that they and the blackbird are one. This repetition emphasizes the importance of this idea.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
In the sixth stanza, the speaker describes seeing the blackbird just after seeing a man with white shoulders. This juxtaposition could be a way of suggesting that the blackbird is something dark and mysterious.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
In the seventh stanza, the speaker describes the blackbird with barbaric glass. This image could be a way of suggesting that the blackbird is something dangerous or threatening.
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
In the eighth stanza, the speaker describes the blackbird crossing a road back and forth. This image suggests that the blackbird is moving between different worlds, or between different ways of seeing the world.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
In the ninth stanza, the speaker asks the thin men of Haddam why they imagine golden birds and not blackbirds. This question could be a way of suggesting that the blackbird is something that is often overlooked or undervalued.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
In the tenth stanza, the speaker says that the blackbird is a part of the women about them. This could be a way of suggesting that the blackbird is connected to the feminine, or to the creative and intuitive side of human nature.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
In the eleventh stanza, the speaker says that the blackbird is in what they know. This could be a way of suggesting that the blackbird is a part of the speaker’s own understanding of the world.
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
In the twelfth stanza, the speaker says that the blackbird is of one of many circles. This could be a way of suggesting that the blackbird is just one part of a larger, interconnected whole.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
In the thirteenth and final stanza, the speaker says that the blackbird would cry out sharply if it were in a glass coach. This image could be a way of suggesting that the blackbird is something that is wild and untamed, and that it would not be comfortable in a confined or artificial environment.
FAQs from Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
What is the message of beautiful blackbird?
The message of “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” is that there are many different ways to see the world, and that we should be open to new perspectives.
What is the folklore about blackbirds?
Blackbirds are seen as symbols of nature, mystery, and transformation.
Who are the Bawds of Euphony?
The bawds of euphony are people who are used to simple pleasures, but are still moved by the beauty of the natural world.
What do blackbirds represent in literature?
The blackbird represents the beauty and mystery of nature, as well as the many different ways in which we can experience the world.
What is the symbol in Blackbird Girls?
The symbol in poem “Blackbird Girls from the poem Thirteen Ways of Looking” is nature.
What does it mean when thousands of black birds fly together?
When thousands of black birds fly together, it’s like a mystery, and they become one, like a moving shadow or a secret.
What is the spiritual meaning of a red tipped blackbird?
The spiritual meaning of a red-tipped blackbird could be a symbol of passion, transformation, or the intersection of the natural and spiritual worlds.