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Emily Dickinson Poetry

Essay by   •  May 16, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,337 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,785 Views

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Emily Dickinson.

In reading Dickinson's poetry I loved the way she explores her sharply contrasting moods in her renowned unique manner. Themes such as mental breakdown, despair, hope and love are always related to the poet's personal experience. Her poems are attempts to understand the essence of her own widely varying, often extreme states of mind. Few poets are as instantly recognizable as Dickinson. I admire her concise and fresh use of language, unusual images and unconventional punctuation which to me are her most obvious traits in her work. In this essay I will look at the following poems which I found to be her most interesting and best to comment on..."I taste a liquor never brewed", "Hope...is the thing with feathers", "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain" and finally "A Bird came down the Walk".

The first poem I studied by Dickinson was "Hope...is the thing with feathers", I thoroughly enjoyed this poem of hers because this poem is a celebration of nature and that her tone is confident unlike many of her others. To me this poem has an upbeat, optimistic and buoyant mood. It is a poem that explores the nature of hope itself "Hope...is the thing with feathers". The feathers suggest warmth and comfort and it is visualized as a bird that "That perches in the soul". I love how the poets upbeat mood is reflected in her confident assertion that the bird "never stops at all. The atmospheric conditions "the gale" and "the storm" suggest interior states of crises or suffering and the strength, courage and resilience of hope is emphasized "and sweetest...is heard". Stanza three moves from the "many" to "I" and "me", as Dickinson's general discussion of hope now focuses on its importance in her own life. She has always heard "little birds" songs in times of personal difficulty and aguish suggesting that its voice is strong. Reference to the "chillest land" and "the strangest sea" suggest that hope comforts her in times of crisis, without anything in return. The tone in stanza three is of absolute conviction and gratitude that I found very uplifting. The absence of a full stop at the end of stanza one suggests the continuing nature of the birds song and the ongoing nature of hope.

Another poem of Dickinson's that I felt related to nature was "I taste a liquor never brewed ". In the first stanza, the speaker begins the extended intoxication metaphor by claiming that she experiences a state of awareness that she has rarely heard described before. At this point, she likens this experience to being drunk, but the "liquor" that made her drunk is not "brewed", her intoxication is not caused by the physical ingestion of a drink. The next line "From Tankards scooped in Pearl," describes the cup from which the speaker has drunk. Again I admire how she must resort to metaphor to express where this feeling comes from, because the experience is from the soul, or spiritual level of being, which is ineffable and cannot be described exactly in words, but can only be experienced. So when she claims that the tankards or large mugs are "scooped in Pearl," she places them outside physical reality just as she has done when she said she "taste a liquor never brewed. In reading I found Dickinson constantly continues to dramatize the feeling by continuing to liken it to natural experiences that she is simply drunk on air "Inebriate of air am I". Even the "Dew" makes her feel drunk. I find it interesting how she compares the bees and butterflies to fellow drinkers, whom she will out drink, "When the landlord turn the drunken bee...When butterflies renounce their drams...I shall but drink the more!". In the final stanza Dickinson talks about when she will have to stop drinking her beverage but in the last line in stanza three she

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