Summary of “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock”
A contrast between a ‘sailor’s life’ and the life of these inhabitants is brought to light. The sailor is very different in his traits and personality from the people living in the society. The people in these houses fail to dream like a sailor. A sailor can catch tigers in red weather in his dreams but the people of the houses never dream of baboons and periwinkles. They are so dull that they do not have an eye for beauty. Nothing appeals them, even the bright colors.
The sailor however enjoys dreaming of things which are colorful or exciting. The sailor has gone far and wide to gather enough of knowledge and inner strength to be able to dream freely and live a life full of excitement. The inhabitants of the house on the contrary are confined to their houses and leading an uninteresting life without dreaming anything.
The poem is an attempt to critically analyze the lives of most people in the society who never enjoy life freely and passionately. The conformity of society to certain standards of living has been reflected through comparison to ghosts wearing white night-gowns. The deadliness and monotony in people’s life gives a picture of how traditional the people are inside. The sailor is however more open in his outlook and has learnt to dream and enjoy life.
Although the poem uses a negative tone through the first half, the idea is to persuade the people to be like the sailor, who the poet talks about towards the end of the poem. The poet has tried to influence them to think freely and come out of their cocoons and try new things rather than living a confined life. Thus they must learn to enjoy life freely in order to make it interesting.