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Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

by Wallace Stevens

Madness Theme

"Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock" seems to ask, "What's crazier: dreaming of baboons and tigers, or living a boring life?" The obvious answer, or not, is that a boring life and a boring dream life are the pits, and therefore, are not the sane choice. A little madness keeps things fresh. It's saner to be crazy. At least, in your dreams it is.

Questions About Madness

  1. Is the haunting of the houses a result of madness, or does the madness lead to the haunting?
  2. Is "strange" a positive or negative attribute according to the speaker?
  3. Is it mad to dream of baboons and periwinkles?
  4. Who's saner? The nightgowned sleepers or the drunk sailor?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

"Strange" is a positive attribute in this poem, because it's the opposite of boring.

The haunting of the house is the result of the madness of the unimaginative and uncreative lifestyle. Turns out being boring makes you crazy.

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