Friday, August 2, 2019
Doubting Religion in Wallace Stevens Sunday Morning Essay -- Poem Poe
Doubting Religion in Wallace Stevens' Sunday Morning Voice is an integral part of Wallace Stevens' "Sunday Morning." The voice of the poem is not the woman's, but that of an outside narrator who seems to give words to the feelings that the woman experiences. The dramatic situation is created during the first stanza. The woman, still in her peignoir, is taking "late coffee and oranges in a sunny chair" on a bright Sunday morning instead of attending church. The quiet of the scene is evident, and the "holy hush" provides the woman with the perfect environment for introspection. The poetic problem arises when the woman, in her liminal state of mind, is troubled with conflicting emotions about life, death, and Christianity. The first thought that encroaches upon the woman's daydreams and darkens the atmosphere is that of a solemn "procession of the dead" to Palestine. Her interaction with the procession is interesting because it symbolizes the journey she is making in her mind and sets the tone for later religious questioning in the poem. The second stanza begins with a series of rhetorical questions that express the woman's inner struggle. The second question is her response to the dark encroachment of the procession, and the third question answers the previous two. The randomness of this questioning illustrates the disorganized nature of her thinking, and an answer finally surfaces when she decides that "divinity must live within herself." A list of positive and negative emotions that she has experienced as a result of nature provides further explanation of the divinity she hopes she possesses within. The realization that these emotions "are the measures destined for her soul" ends the stanza with a feeling of hopefulness. Reli... ...ained in the seventh when Stevens depicts pre-Christian ideals such as the ancient worship of the sun as a god. Here, the blood of the turbulent, chanting men leaves them and returns to the sky in a process similar to the commingling human blood with the blood of heaven in the third stanza A few other philosophical observations result from this stanza, including the suggestion that Gods are humanly created and the idea that men are a part of nature. The last stanza of "Sunday Morning" reiterates the feeling of solitude that the woman experiences in the first stanza, but the tone has changed. The image of silent water again dominates the scene, and her religious questioning continues. She is still suspended in a disorganized state of mind, but there is a feeling of acceptance of the ambiguity of life that is not replaced with the peace of mind and hopes of happiness.