Anecdote of The Jar Poem Summary line by line
Anecdote of the Jar is a poem by Wallace Stevens that explores the interplay between nature and human activity.
Written in 1919, the poem presents a narrative about a jar placed in a wilderness setting and reflects on the transformative impact of human presence on the natural world. Here’s a line-by-line summary of the poem:
Anecdote of The Jar Poem Summary
- “I placed a jar in Tennessee”
- The speaker of the poem introduces the anecdotal narrative by saying, “I put a jar in the state of Tennessee.”
- “And round it was, upon a hill.”
- The round jar is described as being placed atop a hill, designating a particular spot in the landscape.
- “It made the slovenly wilderness”
- The messy or chaotic wilderness is altered by the jar’s presence, implying that it imposes a sense of containment or order.
- “Surround that hill.”
- The jar seems to exert influence over the surrounding hill, acting as a focal point that alters the perception of the wilderness.
- “The wilderness rose up to it,”
- The natural surroundings respond to the presence of the jar by ascending or elevating toward it, emphasizing the impact of human intervention on the landscape.
- “And sprawled around, no longer wild.”
- The wilderness, once wild and untamed, now sprawls around the jar, indicating a change in its character as a result of the jar’s placement.
- “The jar was round upon the ground”
- The speaker reiterates the roundness of the jar and emphasizes its placement on the ground, underscoring its physical presence in the landscape.
- “And tall and of a port in air.”
- The jar is described as being both tall and possessing a certain dignity or presence in the air, highlighting its prominence.
- “It took dominion everywhere.”
- The jar establishes dominance or control over its surroundings, suggesting a symbolic power that extends beyond its physical form.
- “The jar was gray and bare.”
- A visual description of the jar is provided, emphasizing its plain and unadorned appearance.
- “It did not give of bird or bush,”
- The jar is characterized by its lack of life or vitality; it does not provide shelter or sustenance for birds or bushes.
- “Like nothing else in Tennessee.”
- The uniqueness of the jar in its Tennessee setting is emphasized, suggesting that it stands out as an anomaly in the natural environment.
Anecdote of the Jar
“Anecdote of the Jar” by Wallace Stevens presents a thought-provoking exploration of the intersection between human influence and the natural world. The jar, placed in the wilderness, becomes a focal point that transforms the untamed landscape, bringing order and dominion. Stevens raises questions about the role of human intervention in nature, the contrast between the artificial and the wild, and the impact of such interventions on the perception of the environment. The poem invites readers to reflect on the complex relationship between humanity and the natural world and the ways in which human artifacts can shape and redefine the landscapes they inhabit.
1. Why does the wilderness “rise up” to the jar?
The phrase “wilderness rose up to it” suggests a response or reaction to the presence of the jar. It signifies a transformation in the character of the wilderness, which becomes more organized and controlled in response to the jar’s dominion.
2. What does the refrain “The jar was gray and bare” signify?
The repetition of this line underscores the simplicity and lack of adornment of the jar. It emphasizes the stark contrast between the unadorned jar and the vibrant, wild surroundings, highlighting the artificial nature of the human artifact.
3. What is the poem’s commentary on the relationship between artifice and nature?
The poem explores the tension between artifice and nature, suggesting that human intervention, represented by the jar, can impose order and control on the wild. It prompts contemplation about the ways in which human artifacts redefine and shape the natural world.
4. Why is the jar described as “of a port in air”?
The description of the jar as “of a port in air” conveys a sense of dignity, prominence, and authority. It suggests that the jar, despite its simplicity, commands a certain respect and presence in the environment.
5. What does “It took dominion everywhere” mean?
The line “It took dominion everywhere” signifies the jar’s authoritative control and influence over its surroundings. It suggests that the jar establishes a form of dominion or rule, transforming the wilderness in its immediate vicinity.
6. Why is the jar described as “gray and bare”?
The use of “gray and bare” emphasizes the plain and unembellished nature of the jar. It reinforces the idea that the jar lacks the vitality and life associated with the natural environment, making it stand out as a stark contrast to the wild surroundings.
7. Why does the poem mention “bird or bush”?
The phrase “It did not give of bird or bush” underscores the jar’s inability to contribute to the natural ecosystem. It remains unyielding and unproductive, emphasizing the contrast between the lifelessness of the jar and the vitality of the natural elements.
8. What is the poem’s message about the impact of human artifacts on nature?
“Anecdote of the Jar” prompts reflection on the transformative impact of human artifacts on the natural world. It raises questions about the imposition of order and control, the contrast between artificial and wild elements, and the ways in which human interventions redefine landscapes.