Analysis Of The Poem ' Waving Adieu '

1524 WordsMar 9, 20167 Pages
The Absence of Non-Communication in Waving Adieu, Adieu, Adieu A central preoccupation of Stevens’ Waving Adieu, Adieu, Adieu is the potency within actions. The poem explores the complications arising from actions to elucidate ambiguities within the simplest of gestures. This correlates to an essay by John W. Steen, who states, “the poem works through the possibilities for a zero degree of communication, trying to understand how, without ‘crying and shouting,’ or even ‘moving,’ the speaker could still communicate a ‘farewell’” (32). Nonetheless, Steen focuses on the possibility that “not-communicating clears a path for the reception of communication from others” (34), and this assumption of Stevens’ poetics is merely tangential to the poem’s depiction of communication. The text indeed exhibits the complications of communication, though it is a subversion of direct communication, of confining actions to any singular emotion or abstract concept. Initially, the text introduces “waving” in its title, with no determiner, pronoun, or adjective to display the action’s universality among the plural adieus. Furthermore, epizeuxis allows the polyphonic implication that each adieu belongs to a particular individual and denotes the universality of this phrase; however, repetition also invokes its many connotations. In effect, the first adieu can embody sadness, the second can be joyful, the final can be angry, or vice versa so that all of these sentiments and more compose the action of

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