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AML 2020 PBSC Anecdote of A Jar & the Idea of Order at Key West Poem Discussion

AML 2020 PBSC Anecdote of A Jar & the Idea of Order at Key West Poem Discussion

Question Description

I’m working on a literature discussion question and need an explanation to help me understand better.

POST 1 & 2: In separate 250 word posts, respond to two of the following:

A) What is the central image and how does it work in “Anecdote of a Jar”? What does it symbolize and how is it a modernist idea?

B) Both “Thirteen Ways of Looking a Blackbird” and “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock” deal with the idea of perception and subjectivity. What other similarities do you see? What are the major differences in how this idea is presented?

C) Wallace Stevens’ poem “The Idea of Order at Key West” focuses on the “idea” of man “ordering” nature – here, through song. The woman “sang beyond the genius of the sea” – she gives the sea a voice. How does she do this? How does the narrator struggle with understanding this? How is the woman’s voice different from “lights” in the second to last stanza when it comes to “ordering”?

POST 3 & 4: Respond to at least two other student posts.

Each post should be a MINIMUM of 250 words.

Link to the book:…

Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock pg 1559

Anecdote of the Jar pg 1562

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird pg 1563

The Idea of Order at Key West pg 1565

Respond to these two posts as well:

Wendy Diazgranados

Re: Discussion #6-A

The poem “Anecdote of the Jar is a poem that Wallace Stevens, and it was published in 1923. The central image in this poem would be that empty round gray jar that was placed on a hill in Tennesse is ultimately competing with nature and the human imagination. The central image and symbolization of this poem would be that although the jar is placed in the wilderness, the jar might be of higher importance as nature continues to grow around the jar and not the other way around. Due to the jar’s place on the ground, the surrounding landscape is being forced to grow around the jar, which symbolizes that human creation is superior to nature. The wilderness around it must submit to this human creation.

It seems that the jar has a superior place in nature and not the other way around. It seems that art and nature are intertwining in this poem, and the speaker is trying to identify who has a higher place. The fact that art would symbolize beauty and nature would symbolize the unknown and possibly creativity. Is there a place for both would be the question, and could it possibly be that both are of equal importance, or should there be one of higher importance. If so, which one would be of more importance in this circumstance, nature being creative or the beauty of art.

The poem does not come out clear at first glance, and you have to try to decipher what the speaker is really trying to get at. The poem is a metaphor; it could be that the person believes that human imagination, such as art, would be superior and have more importance than what nature has offered since the beginning of time. It could be that the person might view wilderness as boring and not interesting at all, and they might view art as interesting, beautiful, and fun. That would depend on each person’s perspective in what they believe would be superior in this case. Many might believe that nature’s beauty and creativity would be above all of human imagination and creation. My perception of this poem would be that human is trying to compete with nature. This poem symbolizes the modernist idea because it describes art versus nature and might have a higher stand in their view.


Levine, R. S. (2017). The Norton Anthology of American literature. Volume II, 1865 to the present (9th ed., Vol. 2, p. 782). W. W. Norton & Company.

Wendy Diazgranados

Re: Discussion #6-C

Wallace Stevens’s poem “The Idea of Order at Key West” was published in 1936. Ramon was walking on the beach in Key West, and he hears a woman singing. Ramon automatically gets intrigued in hearing the woman’s song. The sound of the song was an inhuman cry, Ramon believes. He believed that the woman that was singing the song by the sea was the person that created the song, and he did not believe that the song that the woman sang could be her mimicking the sounds of the sea. Ramon goes on to say in the poem, “Whose spirit is this?

The woman gives the sea a voice because she mimics the dark sounds she is currently hearing from the sea. The song captivates the interest of Ramon as he thought it was a beautiful song, but Ramon struggles to understand that the song he is hearing is actually the sounds the woman hears from the sea. Ramon seems not to acknowledge the powerful sounds coming from the sea; he seems to belittle the strength that the ocean might have, and instead, he strictly gives all the credit to the woman.

Ramon is so intrigued by the song that he actually views his life differently after hearing the woman sing. The woman’s voice is different from “lights” in the second to last stanza when it comes to “ordering” because the lights come from a fishing boat instead of coming from land. This could be interpreted as the people experiencing different views about land and sea. The different experiences can lead to the “light,” signifying possibly separating two important matters. It could also signify to some that the woman might have ordered the sea.


Levine, R. S. (2017). The Norton Anthology of American literature. Volume II, 1865 to the present (9th ed., Vol. 2, p. 784-785). W. W. Norton & Company.

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