Sunday Morning

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate March 2001

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Explication of "Sunday Morning" Robert Pasell In Wallace Steven's poem, "Sunday Morning" the idea of religion as it relates to reality is explored through the mind of a woman. It is not through the woman's "˜religious voice', but the voice of agnosticism, in her mind, that the poem is narrated. The poem is a debate within her head, between her agnostic voice and her religious voice on the perception of divinity. Her agnostic voice questions religion, in which a problem of faith in the world is shown. It's shown through the woman's agnostic thoughts that those who believe in a creed that is not from an immediate perception of the visible world are living in illusion, and this illusion can make them unhappy. Through this agnostic ideal, religion is a form of illusion based on what is not visible and real. Death is shown as an absolute of human existence, and that the knowledge that death ends all, stimulates the awareness of beauty.

In the woman's thoughts, it is shown that people should accept this condition and shed the illusion of religion and in this acceptance free themselves to love the world around them, and find paradise in this world.

By giving the agnostic side the duty of narration and the religious side a duty of questioning traditional roles are switched. Usually, it is the religious voice, as like the bible, which questions the agnostic. Stevens uses this switch to show the agnostic doctrine as superior to religion. This conversation, the debate within the woman's head, is where agnosticism is shown as having merit. It's aging that turns her thoughts to death and motivates her thoughts of divinity. Her absence from church suggests that she is drifting away from the religious traditions into which she was born. The...