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Willis Monie interprets Wallace Stevens' reference to the Connecticut town of Haddam as a play on words relating to an old English proverb:

"'to have been at Haddum' means to have the French disease, or syphilis, and one who 'had been at Haddum' is one who is shedding his hair as a result of this disease. Using this pun, Stevens contrasts the illusions surrounding sex with the realities of sexual intercourse. The 'thin' (balding) men, then, worship at a false idol, romantic sex, even when faced with such sexual realities as venereal disease, rather than recognize sex as a part of the mundane world of the blackbirds. This reading explains the reference in the last line to "the women," who function in this section as the element of the physical world which is not seen as it exists in reality" (2).

McNamara notes that "It is interesting, in connection with the poet's reference to the 'thin men of Haddam,' that the town of Haddam, Connecticut, was settled by the early Puritans. It is consistent with the poet's view of reality that he designates such men as 'thin,' in the sense that their vision of reality was distorted, their concerns being directed away from earthly reality" (McNamara, 447).

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