* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

by Wallace Stevens

Section IV Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Section IV

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

  • You get the sense that Stevens is just riffing throughout this poem, the poetic version of a virtuoso jazz solo. Many of the sections are radical departures from what came before. Like this one.
  • We find this section very funny. We can't help but think of a man and a woman sharing an, um, intimate moment in bed, when all of a sudden a blackbird pops out from underneath the covers . How do you picture what's going on in this stanza?
  • It's clear how a man and a woman could become "one." That's how people often describe the experience of love or the institution of marriage. There's even a Spice Girls song called "2 Become 1." But the addition of the blackbird might cause you to reevaluate what he means by "becoming one."

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement