Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches Tigers
In red weather.

Wallace Stevens

When I read this poem, I first thought that it was taking place at night when everyone was about to go to sleep.
The author mentions white nightgowns and haunted a line apart from each other to create an image of ghosts running around a haunted house at night. He writes that none of the nightgowns are green, or yellow, or blue, or purple, making us imagine that there is absolutely no color in the house as people in nightgowns are ready to go to sleep. The only color we see, red, is mentioned in the last four lines of the poem when Stevens mentions an old sailor asleep most likely on a boat, catching tigers in "red weather". My interpretation of the poem is that this is taking place at 10 in the morning, and Stevens only wants you to think that its taking place at night at first glance. The title of the poem, Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock has a double meaning. Disillusionment, or the process of coming out of an illusion(sleep), usually occurs in the morning. Also, Stevens creates images of a dark, haunted house in order to create the illusion that this poem was taking place at night. Another possible hint that this is occuring in the morning is that the sunlight shining through the sailor's eyelids might be causing the "red weather" in his dreams.

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