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Analysis Of A Postcard From The Volcano By Wallace Stevens


From the title of the poem, the poet considered this classic work of art to be a postcard that would be found amidst the wreck caused by volcano. The poet, through the eyes of foreshadowed imagination, was seen thinking about what the little children who later found their skeletons would think about them.

In his imagination, he assumed the children wouldn't know how agile and fast they could run like "foxes on the hill" and the reaction on their skeletal faces would tell the children how they felt when "The spring clouds blow/ Above the shuttered mansion house/ Beyond our gate and the windy sky/ Cries out a literate despair."
He also concluded that the children would repeat the things they've said of the house that eventually turned to ruin.

Stanza 8 of the poem:
"A dirty house in a gutted world,
A tatter of shadows peaked to white,
Smeared with the gold of the opulent sun."

The poet tends to clarify that volcano is a very deadly havoc which has nothing to do with how athletic or how fast someone can run. It is mostly a sudden occurrence that claims many lives and properties within a twinkle of an eye.

Structurally, the eight stanza poem can be considered a free verse. Each of the stanza a triolet void of regular rhythm and rhyming scheme. With an instrument of comparison in line 3 "As quick as foxes on the hill", an alliteration in "These had a being, breathing frost", etc. The themes in the poem are (1) The effects of natural disasters (2) Importance of relics in comparison to human life (3) Death as the debt of mortality.

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) was an american poet born in Reading, Pennsylvania. During his own days of active poetry, his style of poetry was philosophical in nature; as seen in his poem titled "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird".

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Enunwa Samuel Chukwudinma
aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

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