Vendler finds section three as displaying "the insignificance of individual fate in the huge theater of nature" (11).
McNamara's explication of the third section is of inanimate nature achieving meaning through intellectual appreciation. Although the image of "a blackbird whirl[ing] in the autumn winds" hardly seems inanimate, McNamara's analysis states that it appears, at least, to be intellectually so. Apart from the enviable poetic tact displayed by Stevens in constructing this image, McNamara feels that it pales intellectually when compared to the enlightened metaphor that follows (447). Beyond the mental image conjured of a muted scene in which a blackened, winged object is blown about in front of a white backdrop, Stevens' metaphoric likening of the blackbird to a pantomime is somewhat open ended, and is the source of perhaps the greatest disparity of critical interpretation of this poem.
Lewis compares section three to Ezra Pound's "In a Station of the Metro" in that both "[present] a single image in the first line and a commentary on this image in the second." This idea, however, can be subverted by the possibility that Stevens intended a more literal interpretation, in which the reader might imagine "a single impression: Marceau and hovering blackbird together on an outdoor stage in October" (Lewis, 68-9).
Bogen likens section three to haiku through its indication of a season, known as kigo, with the words "autumn winds" (217).