Poem journal---Anecdote of the Jar
Allison 58 Nov. 7 1998
In my opinion, I think the speaker is very strange, for using the jar to compare with the nature.
I think the poem does not have some meaningful meaning, but it still refers to some different relationship between the nature and the art.
In the whole poem, I guess the speaker uses lots of symbols. All these symbols can stand for the nature and the art. At first stanza, the words ˇ§I ˇ§, ˇ§jarˇ¨, and ˇ§ Tennesseeˇ¨ all stand for some specific ideas. ˇ§Iˇ¨ must means somebody, but not definitely refers to the speaker, it may refers to some artists or even a poet. I can sure that ˇ§Iˇ¨ must be a person, and he is the one who creates the ˇ§art.ˇ¨ Then, the ˇ§jarˇ¨ must stand for the general idea of ˇ§art.ˇ¨ That the reason why the speaker says, ˇ§ I placed a jar in Tennessee.ˇ¨ So, Tennessee can be the symbol of the ˇ§nature.ˇ¨
Talking about the ˇ§jarˇ¨, I think all three stanzas present different feelings. In the first stanza, I guess that the speaker try to build up an environment for the jar. The environment is a kind of lonely, and very different from normal situation, because you even will not have an idea of putting a jar on the hill. Just image the scene, you will feel that everything are potting in order. Like a circle, the center is the jar, which surround it is the hill, and then the wilderness. In the second stanza, I think the jar rule everything, including the wilderness. ˇ§The wilderness rose up to it, and sprawled around, no longer wild.ˇ¨ It creates the scene that the wilderness is being conquered by the jar. Therefore, mention the word ˇ§sprawled.ˇ¨ In the third stanza, the jar is just like the king, but it lacks of a basic ability, breed. It uses the word ˇ§bareˇ¨ in the second lines, and I think the meaning of ˇ§bareˇ¨ may be can explain as the wordˇ¨ empty.ˇ¨ Both of them mean nothing inside it, for example, if a jar is empty, you canˇ¦t take anything out from it. From this stanza, although the jar rules everything, it canˇ¦t breed; the bird can.
I guess that the speaker repeat the word ˇ§roundˇ¨ maybe is to create the environment of the jar. Another guess is that he wants to attract readerˇ¦s attention toward the relationship between the art and the nature. It may suggest that the foundation of the art is the nature. Also, the nature is powerful, because it can continuous reproduction.