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"there Is No Frigate like a Book" Analysis

Essay by   •  November 18, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  848 Words (4 Pages)  •  4,923 Views

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Thesis

The connotations Dickenson employs to express her theme, compares modes of transportation to forms of literature suggesting the journey the heart and mind takes when engulfed in a book or poetry is more powerful than a physical adventure, because the imagination can take you anywhere.

Analysis of "There is no Frigate like a Book"

In Emily Dickinson's "There is no Frigate like a Book" this upbeat lyrical poem shows the poets fascination with reading books and poetry. The connotations Dickenson employs to express her theme, compares modes of transportation to forms of literature suggesting the journey the heart and mind takes when engulfed in a book or poetry is more powerful than a physical adventure, because the imagination can take you anywhere. Additionally, Dickinson adds that the cost for the human mind to take a journey with the use of a book or poem is nominal and can be had by all who care to take it.

The words Dickinson chose to compare transportation to literature tend to be glamorous or romantic. Take for example the first verse, "there is no Frigate like a Book". A frigate is compared to a book. The literal meaning for the word frigate is a ship, but the connotation can mean an adventurous journey. Compare a trip on an airplane versus a trip on a cruise ship today. You might arrive at the same location eventually; however, the experiences are complexly different. The thought of an adventure on a ship tends to be leisurely and romantic and the plane ride being too swift to be eventful. This is followed by the verse "To take us lands away". The common definition for land is a solid surface of the earth, but a connotation for lands can also mean any distance real or imaginary. The use of the word lands can suggest distant places yet to be explored. Had Dickenson used the word miles in place of lands the suggestion may not have been as meaningful.

In the second stanza "Nor any Coursers like a Page / Of prancing Poetry (3-4)", Dickinson compares coursers to a page of poetry. The denotation of coursers in the plural sense is a group of swift horses. Dickinson compares yet another powerful and romantic form of transportation to a piece of literature. The connotation for coursers could be power, grace or beauty. The word courser changes the connotation in the next verse for the word prancing. By definition, prancing means to spring from the hind legs. Dickinson use of the word prancing in the verse after the use of coursers suggests prancing is more of a beautiful dance that is striking and graceful also suggesting poetry is beautiful and graceful. These first two stanzas set up Dickinson's theme and suggest there is nothing more powerful or beautiful than a book or poetry to take us on a journey into our imaginations.

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