Essay on Anecdote Of The Jar By Wallace Stevens

1444 Words Dec 14th, 2015 6 Pages
In “Anecdote of the Jar” by Wallace Stevens, Stevens explores the power of humans to create meaning through their actions and creations, and more specifically art. Stevens argues that through the organization and ordering of an environment via the presence of art, that people can determine what is considered civilized and what is less so. The poem progresses through three stanzas that make this idea clear in ever widening circles, beginning with the placement of the jar. The first stanza serves to show the reason it is considered an anecdote, to introduce the significance and power of the jar describe the importance of the setting of the poem, and to introduce the major themes of the effects human action and creation can have to create a sense of distinction between what is civilized and what is wild, that are explored later in the poem. The opening line, “I placed a jar in Tennessee”, identifies the poem as an anecdote. The poem opens with the speaker, doing an action, the deliberate and careful placement of an object, and progresses through the widespread implications of both the person’s action and the man-made object has on the world around it. The “jar” is a symbol of human society and civilization because it is something crafted by humans, unlike the world around it; through the word “made”, Stevens is showing the power the jar has over the natural world because it is a human creation. The jar itself is bringing about the changes shown later in the poem. There are…

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