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Symbol Analysis

"Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock" makes Stevens come off as a little judgey when it comes to who has imaginative dreams or who doesn't. True, the people in the houses "are not going / To dream of baboons and periwinkles," but this doesn't necessarily mean that the people won't dream of wallabies and calla lilies, right? Right. However, what is implied is that their dreams will be boring relative to the sailors. "Shame on them," says Stevens. Good dreams in the poem are connected to imagination, and when you lack it, your dreams are bound to be lackluster.

  • Lines 10-11: People—presumably the people in the haunting, white nightgowns—are unimaginative, so they don't dream of colorful and beautiful things.
  • Lines 13-15: Drunk sailors dream the best dreams of the poem, complete with awesome imagery: "tigers / In red weather." Don't turn this into a symbol of anything more than a fantastic imagination.

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