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The Mind Is an Enchanting Thing

The Mind Is an Enchanting Thing

by Marianne Moore

Life, Consciousness, and Existence Theme

Our mind is what keeps us aware (some of us more so after a cup of coffee in the morning). The mind governs all of our choices and filters the massive amounts of information we encounter daily. And it never really stops; it keeps working even when we're not telling it to—daydreaming, telling our stomachs that we're hungry, putting one foot in front of the other. Our mind is the boss of all of that. Moore celebrates both the conscious (things we are actively thinking about) and the subconscious (things we do out of instinct) in "The Mind Is an Enchanting Thing." Basically, the mind is in the driver's seat and we're just along for the ride.

Questions About Life, Consciousness, and Existence

  1. According to this poem, how much do you think the mind is aware of its processes and how much do you think takes place at a subconscious level?
  2. Does Moore place more value on conscious thinking, unconsciousness thinking, or neither?
  3. Can you identify examples in the poem of conscious actions or thoughts? How about some examples of unconscious or instinctive actions or thoughts?
  4. According to the poem, how do memories factor into our consciousness?

Chew on This

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

Moore valued the clarity of the conscious mind, and most of the examples in the poem refer to that particular part of human thinking.

What goes on in our subconscious mind (which we have no control over) is more important to Moore than conscious thought.

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