"The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens

Essay by mihailova February 2005

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"The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens is a poem which creates a unique image of the snow man and winter through an effective imagery, and which makes the reader to use another way of thinking in order to both understand the poem and realize its theme.

The first thing that is noticeable about the poem is that it is actually just one long, complex sentence. There is no rhyme, and there is no particular meter. The poem begins with the words: "One must have a mind of winter". The title suggests that this is actually the mind of "the snow man." But when reading and analyzing the poem further there is appeared another mind whose thoughts are revealed in the rest of the poem. The poem's structure allows this by imitating the normal way of thought, which normally does not come in complete sentences, nor in rhymes or regular rhythm.

Instead, mind activity is usually a continuous and an uninterrupted flow of thought. So, the structure is appropriate for the poem, as it is always is uninterrupted flow of words without any dots.

One question that may arise with this function of the structure is this: if the poem really was meant to imitate the mind's flow of thought, then why did the poet not write the poem in just one long line instead of dividing it into five tercets of three lines each? The answer to this is another function of the structure, which is creating the poem's mood and tone. A cold and quiet winter day is described in the poem, with very little movement in the surroundings. The poem itself should be the same, gentle and unhurried, and it is achieved through the necessary pauses after lines and stanzas.

The support for the established theme,