In Wallace Stevens’ free-verse poem, “Disillusionment of Ten O’ Clock,” he presents the reader with an aggregation of vivid and descriptive words that help illuminate the theme, or the idea, of the poem. Stevens uses his literary work in a way that affects the person reading it and most importantly, the poem has an abundance of substance that can be of value to any person laying eyes on his work—individuals within society should use his or her imagination to become different from everyone else.
One way that Stevens gives a bizarre feeling to the poem is evident in the first sentence: “The houses are haunted / By white night-gowns.” This sentence immediately casts a shadow of an eerie feeling over the reader. One can assume the houses that the narrator mentions have become overrun or inhabited by ghosts. On the other hand, “haunted” can mean to become preoccupied with or disturbed by a particular subject. Usually, when the word “haunted” and a phrase similar to “white night-gowns” are paired together, individuals think of ghosts. However, having been overrun by “white night-gowns” could also mean that the aforementioned house contains boring, bland, and uninteresting women’s clothing.
[...] This sentence in the poem allows the reader to linger over the color combinations. In three of the four lines within the sentence, the author begins with “Or” and ends with “rings.” Perhaps Stevens begins and ends the last three lines of the sentence with these words to make a point of emphasis. The author strives to have the previously mentioned color combinations forefront in the reader’s mind allowing the reader to shift his or her focus into discovering their imagination. [...]
[...] Periwinkles are also flowers with a blue and purple color combination to them. These two creatures are so wild and crazy that it’s the point Stevens is attempting to get across for the reader to understand. People, or society as a whole, lack the imagination of thinking about “out-of-realm” possibilities. Rather, society, for the most part, tends to think with a level mind while coming up with boring and unimaginative ideas. The word, “baboon,” has a long /oo/ sound. The reader could deduce that Stevens adds this particular word not only because it is crazy, but the word also adds the “ooh” and “ahh” factor as well. [...]
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