by Wallace Stevens
The title of the poem is "Sunday Morning," so it isn’t surprising that the "sun" is mentioned so often in the poem. Over the course of the poem, the sun goes from being a source of comfort to the woman sitting in the chair, to a symbol of the ultimate source of life and of the chaos in the natural world.
- Line 2: An image of a sunny chair lets us know that it’s a warm, beautiful day. It sets up more symbolic uses of the sun later in the poem.
- Line 19: The sun is used as a synecdoche to represent other qualities or "comforts," like warmth, light, and growth. It also forms the beginning of a rhetorical question. The woman thinks that the comforts of the sun are just as good as the thought of heaven.
- Line 70: The shivering of the willow in the sun is an image of natural beauty, as well as a symbol for how death makes up for the loss of old things by bringing about new and different things.
- Lines 93-95: In this simile, the sun is compared to how a god "might be." The sun is not actually a god; it is "like" a "savage source," or a wild, divine force that creates things. The sun’s heat and light is the source of all life, so the image is accurate. The sun is also personified as a "naked" being who dances with the men.
- Line 110: The sun is a symbol of chaos, because it can be wild and unpredictable. Sometimes, it grows crops; sometimes, it burns them. Also, as the source of life, the sun is responsible for the chaos of the nature world, where things happen for no rhyme or reason.