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Emily Dickinson - "One need not be a chamber - to be haunted

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Kelsey Yang

on 10 November 2014

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Transcript of Emily Dickinson - "One need not be a chamber - to be haunted

Dickinson's Poetry
Pre-1861: Often conventional and sentimental in nature

1861-1865: Most creative period, very vigorous and emotional

Post-1866: 2/3rds of all her poetry

Themes: Nature, love, death, immortality, pain, religion
Transcendentalism
Distinctly American movement and tied to individualism

Promotes the idea of nature as divine and human soul as inherently wise

Based on the belief that humans have self wisdom

Nature is the focal point for much transcendentalist thought and writing

Dickinson as a Transcendentalist
She searched for universal truths

Investigated life, immortality, fath

But she did not take the role of a prophet or redeemer

She promoted self-discipline, self-critique, and self-analysis
The Poem
The spontaneous feeling of inner thoughts taking over the mind is the most superior

One's own thoughts outweigh anything in the physical world

A form of self-analysis where Dickinson discusses self thought and fears
Imagery
Emily Dickinson
1830 - 1886

Began writing as a teenager

Was inspired by the writings of William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many contemporary popular literature

Emily Dickinson - "One need not be a chamber "
Imagery
Repetition
Repetition
Structure
Structure
Theme
Lines 5, 9, 17

Dickinson's vivid imagery of different horrific scenes evoke a sense of fear

The scenes also depict the possibilities in the material world and how they are not nearly as frightening as one's own thoughts


Lines 1/2, 6/9

Dickinson's repetition of specific phrases emphasizes the importance of the theme

Forces the reader to wonder about their fears and thoughts
Emily Dickinson emphasizes how nightmares can live within anyone's mind. In doing so, she suggests that although there are many terrifying things in the physical world, nothing can exceed the haunting of human thoughts.
Sharon Hsu, Kelsey Yang, Matthew Frediani
The poem is composed of alternating long and short lines

The rhythm seems to imitate an increasing heart beat

The last stanza has the shortest lines, symbolizing the fast beating heart
Translation
You don't have to be as small as a room to be haunted
Neither do you have to be as big as a house
The brain has hallways that pass
Materially

It is safer for meeting a ghost
at midnight
Than inside to confront
your own thoughts

It is safer to race through an alley
with someone chasing
Then to be unarmed, and face oneself
in a lonely place

The most frightening is
one we really are inside
An assassin sent to kill hiding in the house
is the least scary

The intruder borrows a gun
He runs to the door
Overlooking a superior ghost
Or more
Full transcript