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Analysis and comments on The Emperor Of Ice-Cream by Wallace Stevens

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Comment 5 of 25, added on December 10th, 2007 at 12:43 AM.

This poem reveals that only a few things that are certain in life, and
"seeming" does not always mean "being". The setting is a funeral wake and
the theme (hedonism) is conveyed by the fact that the woman in the casket
is desregarded as the visitors pursue their own selfish desires. The
muscular man whipping up "concupiscent curds" symbolizes the basic human
satisfactions of lust and ice cream (i.e. a food that we eat simply because
of the delicious taste). Also, the dresser lacking 3 glass knobs is
representative of the trinity, absent in this household.

truly a beautiful poem with much more to interpret if you take the time.

Nick from United States
Comment 4 of 25, added on January 15th, 2007 at 10:39 AM.

I believe this poem is a mixture of death and hedonism. As others already
noted, there is a funeral scene but there is also much more… You have a
muscular man whipping up concupiscent (lust filled) curds – probably having
sex – in the kitchen, while girls and boys dressed as they should, bring
flowers in last month’s newspapers. And all of this happens to give a
finale to the dead woman in the second stanza.

So already there is death and pleasure mixed in together. Moreover, look at
the emphasis on ice cream, a food that exists for no other reason than it
tastes good. And if you think about it, since its introduction to cuisine
it has been the ultimate symbol of hedonism.
The poem claims, “The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.” Hedonism
is the true authority.

The funeral happens to recognize a woman’s death, yes, but let’s not ignore
the party in the back, the sex in the kitchen and the glory of ice cream.
The people recognize death, but at the same time (perhaps for that very
reason) they celebrate the pleasure and experience of living.

There is no life after death but there is life this side of death – enjoy

Ben from United Kingdom
Comment 3 of 25, added on February 28th, 2006 at 9:50 AM.

I like this poem....it was hard to interpret at first but after many
reading came to the conclusion that he is at a funeral of a dead woman, and
back in that time negro funerals had a tradition of serving ice cream at
these funerals.....if anyone has a deeper explanation please post it.....I
would love to read about this poem...

Lynda from Canada
Comment 2 of 25, added on January 17th, 2006 at 12:55 PM.

there should be more black poets on this is

jo from United States
Comment 1 of 25, added on November 22nd, 2005 at 6:27 PM.

I cannot believe I am the first to comment on this poem. It is fabulous.
The author is incredible. Please all...read it. I want as my epitaph:
"Let Be Be Finale Of Seem" John Evans

John Mark Evans from United States

This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
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Information about The Emperor Of Ice-Cream

Poet: Wallace Stevens
Poem: The Emperor Of Ice-Cream
Volume: Harmonium
Year: 1923
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 9977 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 11 2014

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