“Think as I think,” said a man,
“Or you are abominably wicked;
You are a toad.”

And after I had thought of it,
I said, “I will, then, be a toad.”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stephen Crane's poem “Think as I think,” said a man


  1. Ric says:

    I have been trying to find the author of this poem for years and years. Read it in senior year in high school, 1968. Have used it for any reason when a poem was needed. It is also my signature on one of my personal emails.

  2. Nancy says:

    this has been one of my favorite poems since I was a teenager and discovered Stephen Cranes poetry in my high school library. how many times in life do we meet people who think they know the truth, and look down on others who disagree? this gives me courage to resist.

  3. Wade says:

    Certainly it is poetry! Rhyme and meter do not equal poetry–they are only tools (two of the many) that poets may choose to use. It is the creative, succinct, unique way that Crane reveals an essential truth that makes it poetry. If anything equals poetry, it is beauty–and beauty is truth.

  4. Maurkus says:

    You might be right that it has no poetic resonance to the lines, and that it might then not be considered poetry.

    That, or you might try reading it differently. I find the poetic resonance quite readily, myself.

    But then, I think that’s the whole point of the poem to begin with, now isn’t it?

  5. Joshua says:

    “Poetry is an imaginary garden with real toads in it.” The world in which a poet (Crane) creates is fictional, but the ideas, themes, messages, and doctrines are as real as you yourself. In my opinion, Crane does create poetry because he does this very thing.

  6. Lucie Guo says:

    This is such a beautiful piece of work. This I’d-rather-be-a-toad-than-accepting-false-knowledge mindset is the only way that scientific advances can be made. This is the way that progress is made. Just because everyone says that it’s true does not make it true. As Nietzsche said, “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” We must learn to question the knowledge imposed on us by others and seek truth through our own selves.

  7. christian says:

    wow this is the most catastrophic poem i have ever read in my life i love it, it changed y life

  8. alistair says:

    but is it poetry?
    it’s like dh lawrence’s pansies, i mean obviously a lot of people admire them but i just don’t feel the poetry in them. they’re more brief thoughts that, while worth saying, don’t contain any special poetic resonance for me.

    don’t get me wrong, i don’t think a poem has to rhyme to be a poem, it just has to be a poem to be a poem.

    admirable sentiment, and one that others have expressed in different ways, but a poem?

    i’d love for someone to prove me wrong here, explain why it is a poem – i don’t want to be dismissive, but i’m genuinely not getting it.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I think it is that we all know that we dont need to conform to society. Just because someone puts themselves on a petti-stool does not mean we have to look up to them.

  10. Anthony says:

    I have had a great affinity for this poem since I first discovered it in my 11th grade year. The dialogue between Crane and “a man” seemed to resemble many a conversations I encountered with countless “figures of authority” of the time. Today I reply with a quote from Emerson: “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” I believe that, although one may let others influence his ideas(human nature), it is ultimately his own doings that will manifest his destiny.

  11. Jeanne says:

    I have loved this poem since I was very young. It is short yet says it all! I thought about this poem often as I had to listen to many closed-minded people during the long months leading up to this last election, and it definitely helped to calm me down! I think some people don’t understand this poem because they don’t realize how insulting it was (at the time it was written) to call someone a toad!

  12. Anthony says:

    That is the way that I felt about “Think as I think” when I first read it.
    I am glad others share my sentiment.

  13. Lisa says:

    This has been one of my favorite short poems since I first stumbled upon it years ago. It is simple yet profound. The speaker would rather be abominable, would rather be a lowly toad, than give up the right to think for himself. It is a brief tribute to the importance of free thought, of being yourself, of being unique. I, too, would rather be a toad.

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