The Idea of Order at Key West Questions and Answers
by Wallace Stevens

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What is the tone of Wallace Stevens' poem "The Idea of Order at Key West"?

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Wallace Stevens' poem "The Idea of Order at Key West" begins with a cool meditative tone, with the narrator observing the woman walking and singing by the see. As the narrator reflects about the relationship between the song and the sound of the sea, and the human and the natural, the poem becomes deeply reflective and thoughtful. By the middle of the poem, the speaker almost sounds frustrated with an inability to work out the problematics of language that were encountered in the initial stanza. As the narrator turns away from the woman and the sea and returns to civilization there is a moment of ecstatic epiphany.

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