30 January 2012
Explication of “The Snow Man”
Wallace Stevens was a poet born on October 7, 1879 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was always interested in writing growing up and wrote many poems later on in his life. He has written popular poems throughout his life. One of his more well-known poems is “The Snow Man”. It was first published in 1921 and is still a popular poem to this day. The poem is a very controversial one; it is open to many different interpretations. The poem has varying meanings for everyone who tries to interpret it and people have spent a great deal of time trying to decipher it. Through the use of point of view, imagery, and form and tone in “The Snow Man”, Wallace Stevens shows humans inability to see beauty.
In Wallace Stevens’ poem “The Snow Man”, Stevens never outright says who is looking at the scene that is being described. The title is “The Snow Man”, so the audience assumes that the poem is from the point of view of a snow man sitting in the backyard. Wallace describes the scenery and the landscape in the winter, but he describes it as how a snowman would view it. In the first stanza when the poem says “One must have a mind of winter/ to regard the frost and boughs/of the pine trees crusted with snow” (Stevens 1-3), he is saying that a person “must have a mind of winter” to be able to see the beautiful parts of winter. In the poem the one with the mind of winter is the snow man because he is the one looking and noticing the scenery. The snow man is an inanimate object and by Stevens using an inanimate thing, he is implying that people cannot see that type of beauty. However, in the last stanza the point of view changes. The first line of the last stanza says “For the listener, who listens in the snow” (Stevens 13), which implies a human’s perspective. The whole last stanza is in a human’s point of view, and they are not seeing anything. When it says “And, nothing himself,...