From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird


by Wallace Stevens

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird Awe and Amazement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (section: I, II, etc.)

Quote #1

The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird. (Section I)

At several places in the poem, the speaker juxtaposes (places side by side) images of vast landscapes and the blackbird. He makes the blackbird seem totally powerful and mysterious by making its eyeball the focal point of the whole scene. To the imagination, that eye seems as big as the giant eye of the T-Rex in that famous scene from Jurassic Park.

Quote #2

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after. (Section V)

The use of complex vocab-words like "inflections" and "innuendos" actually makes the speaker sound less amazed. He puts his intense feelings into intellectual terms.

Quote #3

The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause. (Section VI)

One of the reasons the blackbird is so amazing is that it inspires the speaker's imagination. The sensations caused by the sight of the blackbird are indescribable, so he's left with vague, hard-to-follow expressions like "mood traced in the shadow" and "indecipherable cause."

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...