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The Snow Man By Essay

999 words - 4 pages

Mark Nestor
Poetry Essay: Imagery and Figurative Language
Wallace Stevens’ poem “The Snow Man” is a poem that creates a unique situation using imagery and figurative language. The wintry imagery in this poem is used to express the wonders of the mind while forcing the reader to determine what is metaphorical and what is literal. Wallace uses imagery and figurative language to aid in showing how our mind becomes one with a scene upon seeing it.
While Stevens’ poem is masterfully painted with imagery, it is ultimately the meaning of the poem that is so very rewarding and that makes it so great. The speaker describes snow covered trees as the sun glitters off of the top of the distant snow ...view middle of the document...

 Having a mind of winter, as Wallace implies is necessary, the snow man can listen to the cold winter wind and not feel miserable. Here the snow man is at what one might call a nice distance from any of those pesky things that people call feelings. He sees the world as an empty canvas, not holding any meaning that could potentially give to it. Why does Wallace call the land bare? He says it is because the snow man's mind is not imagining flowers and misery onto it. Without the snow man's imagining anything, the land isn't much of anything at all. Thanks to his mind of winter, the snow man, who by now is already pictured as “the listener”, sees nothing while looking out at a wintry landscape. The snowman is only able to see “the nothing that is not there and the nothing that is”(15). The theme of the poem is all about perspective, when the listener does see the wintry landscape that means they are viewing the sugar coated version of reality that was conjured up using imagination. In reality snow is just simply snow and nothing more. People picture winter as a magical time but it really is not without any imagination.
The paradox that lies within the last line of the last stanza actually holds the meaning of the entire poem in it. It is a tricky paradox to unravel but once you figure it out it starts to make sense. The paradox is as follows: “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is”(15). This refers to the person who is able to look at winter and not see it in a miserable fashion. In saying that someone sees the “nothing that is not there”(15), then they are seeing winter as “the snowman” might see it, which is detached and distant. When it says they see the “nothing that is” then they are seeing the winter in a...

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