© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Anecdote of the Jar

Anecdote of the Jar

by Wallace Stevens

Anecdote of the Jar Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

They say things come in threes, but in this poem, they come in fours. There are four lines per stanza, and, with some variation, four beats, or stressed syllables, per line. Though there's no regul...

Speaker

Though we only hear directly about the speaker once in this poem, the poem's very first word is "I." This means that, though we hear little about the personality of the speaker, the rest of the poe...

Setting

We've got a pretty clear idea of the setting of this poem. The jar is sitting on the ground, in a hill, in the middle of the wilderness. It's also, of all places, in Tennessee. Before we start tack...

Sound Check

The sounds of this poem are round and smooth. We imagine them floating around our tongue just like the glass of a jar would feel in our hands. We hear the word "round" itself twice, but get that sa...

What's Up With the Title?

The title tells us that this poem is an anecdote, or a little story, about a jar. When we read this title alone, we can think about a jar, and all the things that a jar can do. It can store food fo...

Calling Card

Probably the worst mistake that you could make when reading Stevens is to think that you know exactly what a line means. Most of the time, his lines can carry several different meanings—just look...

Tough-o-Meter

It may seem like a little poem about a jar would be pretty simple to get through, but this one is, well, more jarring than round and smooth. There are lots of lines that throw us for a loop, and th...

Trivia

There's an organization for not just friends of Wallace Stevens, but for enemies, too. Or should we say frenemies? (Source.) Stevens, now considered one of the greatest American writers, gave up pu...

Steaminess Rating

While there's certainly no explicit mention of sex and violence in this poem, the second to last line, which claims that the jar "does not give of bird or bush," points towards the wilderness' powe...

Allusions

John Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (whole poem) Dominion Wide Mouth Jar (whole poem)

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement