The Man With The Blue Guitar

1440 words - 6 pages

The Man with the Blue Guitar The Man with the Blue Guitar is a long and very confusing poem at first glance. Not until after reading through it a second time did I find what I believe the poem means to me. It may have 100 different meanings to 100 different people, but I think that Stevens is making a point about art and society in this poem. The transitions shown by the man with the blue guitar and his audience shows the movement made between society and artists throughout time. The audience listening to the man with the blue guitar, I believe is a representation of society. They are criticizing what the man with the blue guitar plays, which I believe is society's censorship of art altogether. But play, you must, A tune beyond us, yet ourselves A tune upon the blue guitar, Of things exactly as they are.Society tries to cripple the man's speech by telling him to keep his verse within reality. They expect the man's song, and all art within society, to touch them and move them, but not to radically change reality. Throughout the poem, the audience is becoming more lenient towards the man's song. At the beginning, they are very critical, however towards the end of the poem they begin to see the man's views, to praise art and the freedom it brings to people. "Nothing must stand/Between you and the shapes you take…" This is the audience apologizing to the man for trying to tell him what to sing. They are the blockades that stand between the man and the shapes he takes in his song. These shapes are freedom and liberty and everything creative that can transform in a person inside a work of art that they create. Literary censorship is the topic argued between the audience and the man with the blue guitar. The progress made by the audience throughout the poem is similar to progress made by society over time. Artistic works that are tolerated today would never be viewed as acceptable in the 1950s. This acceptance has been a growing transition throughout every generation in time, as one society becomes more accepting than the next. What would the generation that scoffed at Elvis' hip shaking in the 1950s think about the outfits worn by Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears today? This is the progress that has been shown by society towards art, just like the progress that the audience made to the man's ideas of art in his song. The man with the blue guitar also progresses throughout the poem. He starts off telling the audience what he sings of, and what he can do. "I sing a hero's head, large eye/And bearded bronze, but not a man. The man, in the beginning is telling the audience how he can show life with his guitar. And all their manner, right and wrong, And all their manner, weak and strong? The feelings crazily, craftily call, Like a buzzing of flies in autumn air, And that's life,...

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