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Emily Dickinson. American Literature Cecilia H.C. Liu 12/27/2004. #448 Interpretation #449 Interpretation #465 Interpretation #501 Interpretation #712 Interpretation. #754 Interpretation #986 Interpretation #1078 Interpretation #1624 Interpretation References. Outline. #448 .

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emily dickinson

Emily Dickinson

American Literature

Cecilia H.C. Liu


#448 Interpretation

#449 Interpretation

#465 Interpretation

#501 Interpretation

#712 Interpretation

#754 Interpretation

#986 Interpretation

#1078 Interpretation

#1624 Interpretation


  • This is a piece of poem that puts emphasis upon the poet’s construction of a poem, which the word “distillation” in the second line of the first stanza came from the sense of distillation of alcohol and perfume.
  • This particular stanza suggests that the meanings and images the poet puts on the page would fill up the room, as immense as “Attar.” The first line of the second stanza, the phrase, “familiar species,” suggest the sense of ordinary meanings in the poem, the surface meaning of the poem.
  • Finally, Dickinson portrays in the last stanza in the second line with the word “Robbing,” which suggests that when we read poet’s poetry, we would be stealing something from him. However, Dickinson suggests in the following lines that designates that this act would not bring harm to the poet at all; rather, it would become a fortune through time for the poet, which designates the sense of the fame and poems of the poet living on.
  • A poem about death
  • The pattern of the poem follows many of Dickinson's typical formal patterns--the ABCB rhyme scheme, the rhythmic use of the dash to interrupt the flow--but has a more regular meter, so that the first and third lines in each stanza are iambic tetrameter, while the second and fourth lines are iambic trimeter, creating a four-three-four-three stress pattern in each stanza.
  • This piece of poem describes two dead persons talking to each other in the tomb, which the speaker of the poem, the persona, takes “truth” and “beauty” as the ideal image. In the first line of the second stanza, Dickinson used the word “failed” as the synonym of “die.”
  • Therefore, she suggests that the speaker has died for beauty and truth, but not because he has failed his life all along. The first two stanza of the poem reflects the last line of John Keat’s Ode on a Grecian Urn, “Truth is beauty. Beauty is truth.”
  • The last stanza of the poem suggests that the inscriptions on the tomb have become invisible due to the weather, and that “names” could refer to different persons. In addition, dashes in this poem represent a sort of different bridge to different ideas, which serves the function of a conjunction or transition. What is more, what is interesting to note in this poem is that it was Truth who asks questions, which had been quoted by Beauty.
  • This piece of poem focuses on the idea of ecstasy or vision
  • This poem captures the last thoughts and sensations of a person on her death bed. Surrounded by mourners who are bracing themselves for her death, the narrator's focus as she dies is on the most mundane of living creatures: a buzzing fly. The final ebb of consciousness is depicted as a loss of light and sight: "And then the Windows failed--and then / I could not see to see--."
  • The poem itself is about ecstasy or vision
  • The opening pronouncement of the first line is made all the more emphatic and unequivocal by the period that closes it off , while dashes are rarely used by Dickinson in this poem.
  • In addition, “music” is the metaphor that clarifies and verifies the reality of an invisible species that stands beyond
  • “narcotics”:orthodox enthusiasm
  • The passages of the poem wittily sum up the history of Christian belief in afterlife, and talks about the present age's shallow struggling for faith as well as introducing the inability of current frenzies of orthodox enthusiasm to satisfy the urge and irrepressible need for authentic faith.
  • Dickinson addresses the question not only of belief versus disbelief, but also of authentic versus inauthentic belief in her time.
  • This piece of poem involves with many images that have been personified.
  • First, the poem describes how the speaker of the poem is having a date with Death, and that Immortality in the poem is described as the maiden or courtship that goes along with the speaker to protect or take care of her.
  • Dickinson used the method of flashback method of the poem to suggest what had happened before the speaker’s death, in the third to fifth stanza of the poem. Furthermore, in the fourth stanza, Dickinson used the word He, which this word here is as well personified, as “time,” suggesting that the time of the speaker is up, and the speaker of the poem is actually chilled by the persona.
  • What is also interesting in the poem is that, Death in the poem is represented as a patriarchal man in the society, for he gets to make the decision, and provide everything for the family, the possibility of which the speaker does not run away or could have run away from Death when he attempts to seize her day on earth.
  • Previously repressed and forbidden erotic drives were contained and made permissible by a displacement to a safely unobtainable love object. The aggression and hostility stimulated by Dickinson’s frustrated needs of love has also found their way into the poems. Some of this hostility expressed in her obsession with death and in her agoraphobia had made her a prisoner in her father's house for the last fifteen years of her life.
  • This is basically a poem about entrapment
  • The themes of the poem evolve around the fusion of sexuality and destructiveness as well as the poet's acceptance of masculine components of her personality.
  • “The term, My life had stood" suggest that the speaker’s vitality had laid unused, with her potential lay dormant.
  • The term, "a Loaded Gun": suggested the speaker had all within her of what she needed for effective action and expression, but this same term could also suggest something sexual -- phallic -- and destructive, a dormant, repressed potential for aggression.
  •  The term, "In Corners,“ suggest that these abilities were stagnating, or hidden away.
  • In addition, the poem also imply in "Till a day/ The Owner passed” thatthe owner has an unfamiliar aspect of her own divided self that suddenly came to her awareness, which had become accessible to consciousness.)
  • In the poem, the speaker suggest that herformer incomplete personality was overwhelmed, while the new sectors of her personality is masculinized. When Emily Dickinson has emerged herself into a poet, it could have only been her identification with her active father and her brother that came to the fore, and not with her passive and inadequate mother.
  • "And now We roam in Sovereign Woods": In addition, Dickinson embarks on the idea of what she fancies as characteristically masculine adventures. The active, aggressive, aspect of my masculinized personality is now in full command of its emotional energy.
  • The term,"The Sovereign Woods" may suggest the domain of poetry , or of love.
  • "And now we Hunt the Doe": It seems appropriate for the male to hunt the female deer, the Doe. The object of aggression is conspicuously female. But the doe is also an erotic object. The doe may represent poetry, beauty. The doe is swift, delicate elusive, wild, hypersensitive.)
  • In this poem, thegun and mountain do suggest sexual symbols, since the discharging gun could represent as a masculine orgasm; the echo from the mountains—breast like—a responsive orgasm from the female symbol.
  • In this poem, the yellow eye is the explosive flash at the end of the barrel of the gun and the thumb is the bullet, and this suggest that anything which impedes the free creative expression of my erotic and aggressive impulses must brave the threat of the speaker’s destructive wrath.
  • Finally, the last few lines of the poem were the most powerful one, suggesting that the speaker does have her own will and power to control, and not have her physical life extinguished.
  • It is a poem that evolves the theme of nature, written in 1865.
  • A year later, it was published anonymously under the title of “The Snake” in a journal called the Springfield Republican. The natural world is portrayed vividly throughout Dickinson’s work, and this poem closely examines one of nature’s most infamous creatures—the snake.
  • In addition, this piece of poem portrays a sense of riddle within, which begins with a description of the shock of encountering a snake, while the poem goes on to illustrate how snakes can be deceptive—similar to the idea portrayed in the garden of Eden.
  • This piece of poem, like #712, is also a poem about death
  • “industries” suggestsa period of time
  • Contrastbustle v. solemn
  • The speaker suggests that we have to let go sad feelings and not look back—“The sweeping up the heart and putting love away”; “we shall not want to use again until eternity”
  • Like the previous, this poem is also a description of about death, which describes the cold, unfeeling attitude of nature.
  • The choice of diction in the first stanza is especially effective in portraying the unfeeling randomness of nature. For instance, “happy” suggest a sense of innocence and life in the flower.
  • In addition,“behead”suggests violence and brutality
  • Dickinson demonstrates the randomness of nature and reminds the reader that nature has no real malevolence.
  • Dickinson’s choice of diction in the second stanza also portrays the indifference of nature and God.
  • “The sun proceeds unmoved”portrays the sense to showthat nature has no concern for life or anything else.
  • The phrase,“an approving God,”portrays the sense of something ironic, that even God Himself is indifferent to the suffering in nature.
  • Armand, Barton Levi St. Emily Dickinson and Her Culture: The Soul’s Society. New York: Cambridge UP, 1984. 39-77.
  • Frisch, Karen. “Childhood Diseases in the Victorian Age.” http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=5552
  • “American Trascendentalism: An On-line Travel Guide.” http://www.shepherd.edu/transweb/amherst.htm
  • “Emily Dickinson.” http://womenshistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.findagrave.com%2Fpictures%2F282.html
references 2
References 2
  • Reuben, Paul. PAL: Perspectives in American LiteratureA Research and Reference Guide - An Ongoing Projecthttp://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap4/dickinson.html#study
  • “Dickinson, Emily.”http://mchip00.med.nyu.edu/lit-med/lit-med-db/webdocs/webauthors/dickinson73-au-.html
  • “Emily Dickinson.” http://jade.ccccd.edu/Andrade/WorldLitII2333/LectureEmilyDickinson.html
  • “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass: Introduction.” http://www.enotes.com/narrow-fellow/