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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

In a poem that argues against the value of mere appearances, you shouldn't expect a whole lot of attention to rigid form and meter. Still, we do get some symmetry in terms of form that is worth not...

Speaker

The voice of the speaker is one of authority. This is a guy who knows the score. Check it out: he knows what's going on in the kitchen. He knows what's going on in the bedroom. He knows the local f...

Setting

Let's face it: a wake is probably not someone's first choice when planning to have fun. Sure, wakes are typically festive remembrances of the deceased, with drinking and music and storytelling, but...

Sound Check

As you've probably already noticed, "The Emperor of Ice-Cream" is not a poem that's wallowing in tears, even if it's set at a wake. Instead, it's got a carefree sound to it that's not holding us to...

What's Up With the Title?

We know by now that the title is very important here. It must be since Stevens repeats it twice in a short two-stanza poem. We also know that it's a silly-sounding title, even though it's still imp...

Calling Card

We talked about the difference between "seeming" and "being" in this poem. That distinction is a common theme in a lot of Stevens' poetry, in fact, and he was certainly an advocate of people being...

Tough-o-Meter

Although it's only sixteen lines long, Stevens makes us pay a lot of attention to each word in "The Emperor of Ice-Cream." A cigar, in this case, is not just a cigar. Ice cream may be a simple trea...

Trivia

Did you know that Wallace Stevens was a lawyer at one point? He then went on to have a very successful career in insurance. Hey, poets need day jobs too. (Source.) Car pool, anyone? Stevens never l...

Steaminess Rating

Mainly, this is a death poem, not a sex poem. Still, we do get some "wenches," who probably have had sex on occasion. We don't see any of it here, though, and the only bedroom we get to visit has a...
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