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Sunday Morning

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Lori Waddell

on 8 September 2015

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Transcript of Sunday Morning

"Sunday Morning"
by Wallace Stevens
It's a lazy morning, everyone is at church & a lady is enjoying breakfast in her nightgown. While she is sitting there pondering life, she begins to feel guilty for not being a church. This leads to a long pondering of the meaning of Christianity.
She day dreams about going to Jesus' tomb in Palestine.
And ponders the difference between her knowledge & understanding about Christ & Christianity and nature.
The poem compares Jesus Christ with Jove, the most powerful god in Greek and Roman mythology. Because Jove represented the sun and the sky, the poet thinks the worship of Jove is an expression of love for these and other natural beauties. Also, he thinks that the mythological gods fill a secret desire of the human imagination to praise nature. The poet wonders if the gods created by men will lead to paradise, or if earth is the only paradise.
The woman thinks about how happy it makes her feel to see birds about to take off from a field, but she worries that, once the birds have left, the field won’t feel like "paradise" anymore. The poet responds that the beauties of nature have lasted longer than any specific religious idea of paradise.
The woman thinks that she needs to believe in a beauty and happiness that lasts forever. The poet responds that nothing beautiful could exist without change. Death causes change. But, even when death causes one thing to end, it brings about something new to take its place.
As luck would have it, some pagan guys show up.
They’re dancing in a circle and waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care. The men are chanting to the sun, and the sounds of nature around them seem to add to the music. The men live in the present moment, and do not worry about the past or future.

The woman hears a voice that tells her there are no spirits clustered around Christ’s tomb, which is just a grave where a person is buried. The poet sums up the poem to the reader. Without real gods or the idea of a heaven, the world seems like chaos. We are alone, but we have freedom. Humanity is like an island surrounded by "wide water" on every side. We are surrounded by natural beings that live independently of us, and it is impossible to know their purpose or meaning.
A Summary. Thanks SHMOOP!
big ideas:
happiness
choices
religion
man v. nature
duty
symbolism:
the sun, sky, birds, fruit, water, blood, morning & night,
Christianity, paganism, death
iambic pentameter
Every other beat has an accent. Made famous by Shakespeare. There is no rhyme scheme. That's called
blank verse
structured around questions & answers
Lady/speaker questions ... daydream answers.
There are two distinctive voices in this poem.
very rhythmic
not very lyrical
"Complacencies of the peignior, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair, ... "
enjambment
the continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza.
"Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide ater, without sound. ..."
parallelism
the use of successive verbal constructions in poetry or prose that correspond in grammatical structure, sound, meter, meaning, etc.
"We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or Island of solitude, unsponsored and free, ... "
anaphora
repetition at the beginning
of the sentence
etended metaphor
refers to a comparison between two unlike things that continues throughout a series of sentences in a paragraph or lines in a poem
mothering
death
Death is the mother of beauty
Clears out the old to make way for the new
Paradise without death isn't logical
Death is the agent of change
personfication
find an example of religion
being personified
imagery
major take away:
happiness without fear of death
What do you mean there are 8 stanzas????
stanza one
late morning, thoughts of church & Jesus, follows Jesus to Palestine
stanza two
questions faith, content on Earth, nature
determines how she feels
stanza three
Jove (Jupiter/Zeus) v. Jesus
We are their descendents.
Is paradise what we believe it to be/
stanza four
Heavenly feeling disappears, nature outlasts heavenly paradise, begins to question heaven

stanza five
"Death is the mother of beauty"
stanza six
Is heaven stagnant?
Does heaven possess on
Earth-like qualities?
stanza seven
men worship the sun & give life to the sun through chant; nature joins in and they accept death.
stanza eight
The tomb is just a tomb; Earth is dependent on the sun; people can worship what they want; nature is chaotic.
share with neighbor.
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