A detailed analysis of Stevens’s most famous poem, my handout examines the structure of the poem, the symbolism of its two settings, its major themes, and its stylistic features including imagery, rhyme pattern, and alliteration.
As an addendum to the answer key, I have included three pages of information about Stevens’s life (including his Key West street brawl with Ernest Hemingway), the general themes of his poems, their stylistic features, and additional details about “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” not covered in the handout for the students. These notes may prove helpful in answering any questions which your pupils may ask about Stevens or the poem, or you may simply decide to incorporate some of its points into class discussion of “Emperor.”
My handout, which has blanks which your students can fill in, is suitable as an in-class activity or for homework. As mentioned, an Answer Key is provided on a separate sheet at the end of the handout.
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.