On "Anecdote of the Jar"

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On "Anecdote of the Jar"

By | Feb. 2006
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Stevens does not clearly reveal his true meaning of "Anecdote of the Jar" within the poem. However, Stevens creates a poem that leads the reader to discover the truth through imagination. The poem weighs the power of the natural world against the impact of the man-made world through the use of symbolism, repetition, and rhythm. Stevens placed his jar on a hill in Tennessee. "And round it was, upon a hill," suggests that the clearness of the jar creates a focal point from which to survey the wilderness from this hill. Unlike the symmetry of the jar, the wilderness is not orderly, balanced, or round. Stevens' use of the word "slovenly" demonstrates an element of a modern period that Stevens wishes to express. The reader can only imagine wilderness sprawling out without regard to form, order, or balance. The wilderness can only be seen as slovenly if viewed in contrast to the perfectly ordered symmetry of the jar. Stevens causes the reader to imagine the ordered symmetry of the man-made object as put beside with the uncultivated expanse of nature. This image contrasts the natural world with that of a manufactured world. The author did not literally mean that the jar caused the wilderness to surround the hill. "It made the slovenly wilderness/ Surround that hill." There is some power in the symmetry of the jar. Although Stevens uses no rhyme scheme, he reinforces the power of "round" by repeating it five times throughout the first eight lines: in line 2, line 4, in line 6, and twice in line 7. This repetition creates an image in which the jar "took dominion everywhere." Here the central truth of the poem emerges. This truth suggests that the man-made jar takes control over nature. The poem has no discernable rhyme scheme but does have rhythm. Most of the poem is iambic tetrameter, but Stevens does not hesitate to break this metric pattern to reinforce an image; it is almost as if Stevens violates the meter for emphasis. Stevens writes two metered lines about the...
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