Transition from Static to Dynamic Images in Wallace Stevens’ poems

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Transition from Static to Dynamic Images in Wallace Stevens’ poems “Description restores vitality to the plain visual object” (Altieri, 250). Take for example when Horatio, after having seen the ghost the first act of Hamlet, notices the beginning of the new day: “But, look, the morn in russet mantle clad, walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.” (Shakespeare, 347). He doesn’t say “Sun’s coming up!” and we do not read Shakespeare in hopes that he would. Instead we are given a description of the sun and it’s movement. This two part description is vital to the beginning of the entire play, and closes the scene succinctly. It provides first a visual image for the reader or listener to imagine, and then gives motion, in this case to indicate that the play has been set into motion by something outside the control of the characters. Transition from a static image to that of a dynamic one gives vitality to several of Wallace Stevens’ poems, furthering their motion and directing their impression. Before addressing any of Stevens’ poems, it must be made clear that this argument is narrowly focusing itself on the visual images within several of Stevens’ poems. To fully examine the sidelines and tangents of a single poem would be impossible, as the poems themselves grow with discovered philosophies, and appeal to innumerable viewpoints and interpretations. Furthermore, because the word image can have a multiplicity of meanings and derivatives, depending on the school of thought the reader has absorbed, I will constrain the definition of image, within this paper, to the stoic “To describe; especially to describe as to call up a mental picture of” (Morris, 657). In “Study of Two Pears” (Stevens 180) we find 13 sentences within a 24 line poem, and each line composed of only 4 words, on average, per line. It would seems odd for such short sentences to be so descriptive. However, “A catalogue of vivid effects would pall pretty quickly, and Stevens’ sensuous particulars do not pall. He keeps them simple, often short, and sometimes achieves a remarkable sense of presence” (Cook 154). This presence builds throughout the poem. It begins with the scientific terms for the two pears in question, “Opusculum paedagogum” and states that they are pears and “resemble nothing.

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