~ Disillusionment of Ten o'clock ~
In the past, people live in a simple life. They don't have any activity at night. They don't have much entertainment. Therefore by ten o'clock in the evening, many families are preparing for sleep. So that's the reason why there are so many children in a family in past. (Just kidding!) I think Wallace Steven tried to describe what regular life is.
In this poem, Wallace stressed on a lot of color, but the main color is white. The first line of the poem said The house is "haunted". In my opinion, I supposed that the ghosts referred to the people who wear white nightgowns. Most people consider ghosts always dress in white. They should not be ghosts. I would like to say that they are robots or machines rather than ghosts. The people live in a very regular life. In their life, they do the same things at the same time of daily life. What they do seem to be the routines. It is the same to the machine, isn't it? Even when they sleep at night, they may have the same situation in their dream. In other words, it means that there are only white and black instead of other colors in their dreams.
"Socks of lace" and "beaded ceintures" might mean something changeful. They didn't adorn themselves. For our age, most people may dress themselves in various kind of clothing depending on their mood everyday. If you are happy, you will dress yourself in bright color or wear your favorite suit. In contrast, you may dress yourself in black or gray if you are in bad mood. But the people in this poem might not have feeling. If it were really like that, it would be a tragedy. Because someone loses his feeling with his surrounding, I may suppose that he is isolated. Is it the same to the machine? Machines don't have any feeling, too. As for their dreams, they are also not free even in there. Line ten and eleven in the poem said, "people are not going to To dream
of baboons and periwinkles." Have you ever seen baboons or periwinkles? Take baboons for example, you can see many colors on their face. These two lines may suggest that there are not colorful in their dreams.
Wallace Steven compared the people in that house with the old sailor. The life of this old sailor was different from it of the people in that house. The old sailor lived in an adventureful and exciting life. However he was too old to live in dangerous life, but he still wanted to catches tigers in his dream in the red weather. It does opposite from the life of those people, doesn't it?
Wallace didn't tell you that living in a regular life is not good. He didn't talk about the advantages or disadvantages of various. He just described a condition. So what kind of life you want to live in depends on yourself.