Study Guide

Sunday Morning Choices

By Wallace Stevens

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The woman in "Sunday Morning" is torn between two viewpoints. Can she live in the moment and know when to let go of the good things on earth? Or, should she put her stock in Christian ideas of sacrifice and duty, hoping that they will help her find a happiness outside of the physical and natural world? In the final stanza, she seems to choose the worship of nature over the worship of a supernatural God.

Questions About Choices

  1. Does the woman make a choice between the two ideas of heaven at the end of the poem?
  2. What does she like about the idea of Christian heaven, compared to the idea that joy is found in the natural beauty of the earth?
  3. How does the voice of the poet help the woman to make a choice? Do you think that the poet and the woman are in dialogue at any point in the poem?
  4. How does the imagery of birds in the poem reflect the woman’s thought process as she weighs Christian and pagan perspectives?

Chew on This

By rejecting the supernatural elements of Christianity at the end of the poem, the woman rejects Christianity itself as a path to happiness.

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