What kind of a view of ablackbird is this?It is cinematic.            aerial view of a town,Think of a typical          th...
Picture a tree with threeblackbirds in it; this is   This way of looking at alike your mind when you     blackbird is to c...
There is a play without   words going on--a            Subtle things that   pantomime. The               happen on the edg...
How are a man and a  woman one? They are         This way of looking at a    While one way of looking  both humans.       ...
Do I prefer the way the   Do I prefer the way the song sounds or what the   meaning comes through        Do I prefer the s...
To whom does this MOOD     ...or a blackbird flying  belong? To someone on      past.  the indoors-side of that  window, so...
Haddam is a town in        What do they spend         The thin men look atConnecticut. It could be   their time imagining?...
What are noble accents?     This way of looking at a Fancy ways of talking?      blackbird suggests that To me, this sugge...
This stanza creates a  visual of a point in space,  the blackbird, defining  the space, defining the  edge of one of many  c...
This, however, is a very emotional way of looking: even jaded prostitutes would become enthusiastic upon seeing the beauti...
HE is a wealthy man in a    This is another paranoid    glass carriage whose        way of looking.    money can’t buy him...
This way of looking at      The action of a blackbird    blackbirds is as a          flying is as natural to the   This way...
This way of looking sees   stillness and sameness.    This blackbird sitting in                              the cedar lim...
There are so many ways to read this poem, but the purpose it serves in this class isto emphasize the point that there are ...
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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

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The text of the poem is presented with my notes, which are specific to my class, and not intended to be considered as an explication or full interpretation of the poem.

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  • Trying to read the presentation transcript was most confusing with the sentence structure and to me word misplacement. I did enjoy the slide presentation.
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  • I have read all 14 slides and feel that I am a fairly open-minded person. I can see the varying views that one could interpret. Yet I also feel that there are times when to much interpretation can lose sight of the real perspective.
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  • Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

    1. 1. What kind of a view of ablackbird is this?It is cinematic. aerial view of a town,Think of a typical then focuses in on aopening scene in a movie: One way of looking at a house, then on a personfirst you see a vast blackbird is to zoom in on in a house, until the focusexpanse of land; the your subject, to focus on is on the face of thecamera zooms in to an one tiny thing among a person in the house. great expanse. IAmong twenty snowy mountains,The only moving thingWas the eye of the blackbird.
    2. 2. Picture a tree with threeblackbirds in it; this is This way of looking at alike your mind when you blackbird is to compare Not only can humansjuggle three different blackbirds in a tree to concentrate on a singleideas, struggle to focus thoughts in a mind. point of focus in a vaston one of several world, humans can alsocompeting thoughts. multi-task or have a mind focused on more than one idea. III was of three minds,Like a treeIn which there are three blackbirds
    3. 3. There is a play without words going on--a Subtle things that pantomime. The happen on the edges contribute to the story We don’t know what is blackbird is whirling of the whole. going on, just that a around the action. blackbird is circling the Though the blackbird is action and is somehow on the edge, the blackbird connected to it, part of it is included. from its position above. IIIThe blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.It was a small part of the pantomime.
    4. 4. How are a man and a woman one? They are This way of looking at a While one way of looking both humans. blackbird may have you at humans and animals rolling your eyes, but it finds a difference in KIND How are a man and a actually asserts a strong bet ween the t wo, woman and a blackbird opinion about the another way of looking one? All three are living relationship bet ween asserts that the beings. humans and animals. difference is merely one of degree. IVA man and a womanAre one.A man and a woman and a blackbirdAre one.
    5. 5. Do I prefer the way the Do I prefer the way the song sounds or what the meaning comes through Do I prefer the sound of words and music the singer’s vocals or the the blackbird singing or communicate? subtle meanings the feeling I get suggested by the words? immediately after hearing it. This way of looking at a blackbird concerns music, language, and meaning. VI do not know which to prefer,The beauty of inflectionsOr the beauty of innuendoes,The blackbird whistlingOr just after.
    6. 6. To whom does this MOOD ...or a blackbird flying belong? To someone on past. the indoors-side of that window, some paranoid This is a very paranoid person who assigns cause and superstitious way of to coincidental looking... happenings like icicles forming on the window... VIIcicles filled the long windowWith barbaric glass.The shadow of the blackbirdCrossed it, to and fro.The moodTraced in the shadowAn indecipherable cause.
    7. 7. Haddam is a town in What do they spend The thin men look atConnecticut. It could be their time imagining? blackbirds as common.any town. The men are Golden birds. What birdsthin--what do they need are they ignoring? The suggestion here isto nourish them? Blackbirds. Golden birds that these men should are not common. stop imagining ideal Blackbirds are. women and get to know the women around them. VIIO thin men of Haddam,Why do you imagine golden birds?Do you not see how the blackbirdWalks around the feetOf the women about you?
    8. 8. What are noble accents? This way of looking at a Fancy ways of talking? blackbird suggests that To me, this suggests that though the speaker the speaker understands understands complex has mastered higher language, he maintains a learning without sense of connectedness abandoning common to common language, sense. maybe common sense. VIIII know noble accentsAnd lucid, inescapable rhythms;But I know, too,That the blackbird is involvedIn what I know.
    9. 9. This stanza creates a visual of a point in space, the blackbird, defining the space, defining the edge of one of many circles. This is almost a mathematical way of looking at a blackbird. IXWhen the blackbird flew out of sight,It marked the edgeOf one of many circles
    10. 10. This, however, is a very emotional way of looking: even jaded prostitutes would become enthusiastic upon seeing the beautiful sight of blackbirds flying in a green light. XAt the sight of blackbirdsFlying in a green light,Even the bawds of euphonyWould cry out sharply.
    11. 11. HE is a wealthy man in a This is another paranoid glass carriage whose way of looking. money can’t buy him peace of mind. He sees the shadow of his own carriage and thinks it is some kind of swarm of blackbirds on his trail. XIHe rode over ConneticutIn a glass coach.Once, a fear pierced him,In that he mistookThe shadow of his equipageFor blackbirds.
    12. 12. This way of looking at The action of a blackbird blackbirds is as a flying is as natural to the This way of looking sees constant: if the river is living world as breathing constant motion. moving, the blackbird is is to the living human. flying. XIIThe river is moving.The blackbird must be flying.
    13. 13. This way of looking sees stillness and sameness. This blackbird sitting in the cedar limbs could be the same one in the first stanza, among the t wenty snowy mountains. XIIIIt was evening all afternoon.It was snowingAnd it was going to snow.The blackbird satIn the cedar limbs.
    14. 14. There are so many ways to read this poem, but the purpose it serves in this class isto emphasize the point that there are many ways of looking at the samesubject. Diverse viewpoints on the same issue can be reasonably held.Many factors influence our ways of looking. Our views are informed by ourbackgrounds, by our degree of attention and curiosity, our level of education, ourpersonal experiences and beliefs, among many other factors.For example, a person with a mathematical mind has a different way of lookingthan a person with an analytical mind. One is not necessarily more valid than theother.The ability to look at a subject !om more than one angle of vision is a skill of higherorder thinking.

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