Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stevens
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Symbol Analysis

The poem features several examples of confused or disoriented humans. The relationship between their indecisiveness and the blackbird remains a mystery. For the speaker, at least, the inability to choose can be a good thing, when he is choosing between two things he likes. But, hey, who's to say he shouldn't be of three, four, or a million "minds"?

  • Section II: The word "like" is our simile alert, letting us know that the blackbirds are being compared to "minds." The phrase to be "of two minds" is an idiom: it means to have two conflicting opinions or desires.
  • Section V: The middle of the section uses two parallel expressions, "the beauty of inflections" and "the beauty of innuendos." These are compared metaphorically to the sound of the blackbird whistling and the silence that immediately follows the whistling – which may or may not make things any clearer for you.