Critique of The Emperor of Ice-Cream
At the heart of Stevens’s poem is the harsh and unpalatable experiences revealed only gradually through his intense stylization. Wallace Stevens, author of The Emperor of Ice-Cream, plots his story into two stanzas: one for the kitchen where the ice cream is being made, one for the bedroom where the corpse awaits decent covering. The author chose to unveil his sordid character and share his view of life in this sadistic diction. There is an illusion of referring to something, a belief that is carefully crafted in his choice of wordplay, even in the title The Emperor of Ice-Cream.
The first line is masculine all in itself, “Call the roller of big cigars”. You may think of a large muscular man, maybe somewhere from Cuba whipping up the ice cream in the kitchen. Kitchen cups are all they had as they did not have the sugar cones. “Concupiscent curds” or lustfully spoiled milk is the attitude toward women. Since the author wrote this poem in 1922, anyone would have to think about this era and how they thought or acted back then. The author shows an idea of how bad women are treated and thought of, but it is better now for women today, but we still have some obstacles.
This first stanza is a party in the kitchen where the neighbors are making ice cream; women are dressed scantly and enticing young men and they bring the women flowers to woo them. It is as if they are at a home wake, but celebrating carelessly not thinking of the wench in the next room. It all was crude, boisterous and unfeeling, having an appetite in the house of the dead.
Someone at least made an attempt to properly cover the old wench. A small-embroidered sheet was found in a cheap pine dresser that was missing three knobs to cover her, but it was still not enough to cover completely as her ugly feet protruded out from the sheet. Even though she is poor, the lady wanted to make the sheet beautiful by pl...