The poerty speaks of death and the use of imagination. Fundamentally, the author doesn’t talk directly about death but expresses the theme of death in the form of recollections of the past. Stevens looks the world without life, but it is with an imagination that the author gets a life. The preference of words and the ideas of imagination have to be emerge as a central aspect of making the poem epic.
The author of the poem invites us to share the identical experiences that he had. If the first stanza there is the mention of ‘we’- “we had come to the end of imagination.” In this regard, the end of imagination can be compared to an end of a movie that people had been stuck for a while, and now, they will free themselves from the preconceptions and engage in other activities (Holzer, 2010). However, the author has a different opinion of the end of imagination as he refers it “inanimate and inert savior.” Apparently, Stevens thinks that imagination is what makes life better and as long as people look for reality, they can never ignore the imaginations.
The next stanza tells us about the author’s extent of the imagination. Essentially, the stanza begins with “… difficult to even choose an adjective.” The adjective in this context means imagination in which Stevens has run out of. He has imagined for a while now through his experiences and apparently, he knows too much. Concisely, whatever he may be willing to make an image about has already been experienced. Now, when he is unable to choose an adjective, he describes how he feels, “For this blank cold, this sadness without cause.” The description of how he feels can be equated to the feeling when someone has experienced death. It’s a state of being sad and helpless.
The choice of the words is carefully selected to bring a diction that is straightforward and simple to follow. In the first stanza, for instance, the flow is easy to follow and understand up to the fourth line where the words used are a bit complex. For every reader, ‘inanimate’ and ‘inert’ as used in the poem will slow them down trying to figure the meaning. One would pause for a while for their complexity and because of their meaning too. Furthermore, the word ‘savoir’ seems to be the least expected word in that stanza. One would easily notice that the word stands apart probably because it’s not an English word but a French one used as ‘savoir-faire.’ Apparently, the transition of the word means the level of know-how. In this regard, Stevens understood that it is one thing to know something and another to have an imagination of it. The choice of words has illustrated that point.
In conclusion, the poem illustrates that use of imagination is essential in a person’s life. Primarily, the method of imagination has been used as an escape in the poem, which means that it can still be used by anyone else. Although memories can always be pushed back to ‘The Plain Sense of Things,’ one is encouraged to imagine again from time to time.
Holzer, T. S. (2010). The Plain Sense of Things. Western American Literature, 45(3), 333-334.