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Transcript of Emily Dickinson
Molly Patsch The Life and Works of Emily Dickinson Nature Love In Vain 3 Recluse involved through father and Amhurst
nature background Interpretation Experience Evaluation Her best and most famous love poem *Heavily ironic Question for Discussion Themes Experience Evaluation Interpretation Why I chose this poem: Background *Alternate ending Dying together Lovers cannot be together on earth because “that would be life.” The speaker seems to believe that God does not allow such fullness of life here on earth. * Separation and Longing *Death and Afterlife They cannot rise together either, because eternal life is reserved for devotion to God, not to each other. Her Early Life Her Later Life and Writing •Born in Amherst, Massachusetts on December 10th, 1830
•father was a prominent lawyer and politician
•attended Amherst Academy with her younger sister Lavinia
-inspired her interest in science and botany
•later attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary but left after a year
-it was here where she began to rebel against accepted ideas, such as religion
•became a recluse and accepted very few visitors •befriended the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, with whom she may have been romantically involved
•only wore white and avoided funerals, even her own father’s
•wrote over 1700 poems, bound in 40 hand-sewn books
•admired the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and John Keats
•in 1862 sent four poems to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who disapproved of her eccentric writing style but thought she had talent
•died in Amherst in 1886
•he work was largely unappreciated until a collection of her poems was published in 1955 I Like to See it Lap the Miles
I like to see it lap the Miles —
And lick the Valleys up —
And stop to feed itself at Tanks —
And then — prodigious step
Around a Pile of Mountains —
And supercilious peer
In Shanties — by the sides of Roads —
And then a Quarry pare
To fit its Ribs and crawl between
Complaining all the while
In horrid — hooting stanza —
Then chase itself down Hill —
And neigh like Boanerges —
Then — punctual as a Star
Stop — docile and omnipotent
At its own stable door — The Poem Experience How does the poem affect YOU?
•We live in a world of change
• methods of communication and transportation change yearly
•Dickinson reacts with mixed admiration and uncertainty to the change, in this case, a train
•How do you react to changes? Interpretation Evaluation I like this poem because it is unique and offers a different view of death. All humans can relate to this poem because everyone experiences death at some point in their lives. To many, including myself, death can be scary and saddening. In this poem, however, the speaker is very calm because she knows death is not the end, but a step to eternal life. I believe this is a good attitude to have towards death. "Because I could not stop for Death" Because I could not stop for Death -
He kindly stopped for me -
The Carriage held but just Ourselves -
We slowly drove - He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility -
We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess - in the Ring -
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain -
We passed the Setting Sun -
Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –
We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –
Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity – Stanzas 4-5 The voice is personal.
She is telling us a story about this event that happened to her centuries ago
“Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet / Feels shorter than the Day” (lines 21-22) Life in this world Voice Tone The speaker and her lover cannot live together because it would be a life that is confined and restricted. This is not truly living. Calm and Composed Although she is riding in a carriage with Death, she is very calm, and regards Death as a kind and charming gentleman suitor. Figurative Language Personifies death as a gentleman suitor who is not scary, but kind, and guiding her towards eternity. Descriptive Metonymy A metaphor is used to compare life to a porcelain locked up by a sexton. This signifies a life locked up and not free; lacking passion or expression. Describes the scenes she passes as the carriage continues on its journey in stanza 3
Describes the temperature because it progressively gets colder as the carriage gets closer to its final destination Line 6 to 8: “And I had put away / My labor and my leisure too, / For His Civility -”
These are parts of her life substituted for her whole life The cup metaphor can be expanded from the sexton to the housewife. This implies that the society of her time had conditions and values that were hostile to a passion like theirs. Figurative Language •Metaphor- the train is likened to a horse, especially in the last stanza
•Onomatopoeia- “horrid hooting stanza”
•Simile- “And neigh like Boanerges — ”
-a Boanerge is a loud, thundering preacher
•personification- “And then — prodigious step/ Around a Pile of Mountains —” Touch of feminism Allegory and Symbolism This poem is an allegory. The carriage ride represents her journey from life to death. In stanza 3, they pass through the stages of life. In stanza 5, the house they pause at is her grave Rhyme, Meter & Form Light and warmth at the beginning of poem symbolize life Coldness at the end of poem symbolizes death
•loose ballad meter- alternating iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter
•rhythm strongly contributes to the poem’s horse imagery
•ABCB rhyme scheme is slant, which emphasizes the speaker’s uncertainty
- heavy use of consonance in the rhyme
• use of dashes helps convey the jarring, somewhat frightening journey of the train Diction Syntax The words used help to slow down the pace of the poem
"Slowly drove" Uses dashes to slow down the poem and create suspense
Each stanza is a full sentence
Capitalizes certain words for emphasis Sound, Rhyme, Meter Alliteration Labor and leisure (line 7), school and strove (line 9), recess and ring (line 10), horse’s heads (line 23) Rhyme No consistent rhyme scheme Meter 1st and 3rd lines of each stanza are iambic tetrameter
2nd and 4th lines of each stanza are iambic trimeter Themes 1. Mortality
2. Eternal Life Values 1. Death should be accepted and not feared because it is a normal part of life.
2. Death is not the end; it is a step to eternal life Background Dickinson thought often about death and life after death.
Death surrounded Dickinson all of her life.
During the time period in which she lived, mortality rates were high and life expectancies were low.
Dickinson herself suffered from illness.
Many of her friends and family died during her lifetime.
Dickinson was not an orthodox Christian, her religious ideals were distinctive and original, and she preferred to worship alone in her home. Discussion Question Dying together would be impossible. If the speaker's lover would die before her, she could not continue living. This is evident by her cold metaphors for death, "frost" and "freeze."
However, she regards her death as more of a right and privilege. Death is a desirable state for her.
All in all, because death would separate them, dying together would be impossible because they can not be together in Heaven. She believes Heaven is for her to be with God, not with her lover. Paraphrase In this poem, Death stops for the speaker and takes her for a ride in a carriage with Immortality. She does not have a choice about when Death stops for her and was not planning for this trip. As the carriage trundles along on its journey, the speaker gets farther away from life and warmth and closer to death and coldness. Death eventually leads her to her burial spot, her new home, and the speaker reveals in the final stanza she has been dead for centuries. Final Judgment together Works Cited http://www.egs.edu/library/emily-dickinson/biography/
Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama by Robert DiYanni
Emily Dickinson: A Collection of Critical Essays edited by Robert B. Sewall
http://suite101.com/article/love-themes-in-emily-dickinson-poems-a267468 Longest grouping of stanzas - signifies eternity.
The speaker initially imagines that her beloved would be saved because he served God, however, she would not be saved.
She has "saturated sight." This means that she only sees her beloved and nothing else. As a consequence, she cannot see the glories of Paradise.
They cannot be together in Paradise, therefore she regards Paradise as "hell" and they cannot be together in Paradise. (Paradox) Her Story
•Emily’s father helped to bring the first railroad to Amherst
•She watched its first run warily from a distance
•The new technology greatly changed life in her small town Discussion Question Do you have any concerns about the rapid changes in technology today, in fields such as medicine, communication, and transportation? What are the benefits or consequences of these rapid advances? Do you believe that people should accept death or fear it and why? Themes -modernization and technology
-admiration and uneasiness Stanzas 1-3 Stanzas 6-7 Resurrection together The speaker refers to the promise of life everlasting as Grace.
Her beloved's face would outshine Jesus'
Being totally absorbed in her beloved would cause her to place Jesus second in her life, instead of first. Stanzas 8-11 Stanza 12 Final Judgement together The speaker concludes that the only possibility is to live apart.
"Oceans" suggests a great physical separation.
Turing to prayer would be unfitting because she has rejected the idea of resurrection and paradise.
They will meet through her poetry, which is her true love. Speaker -Emily Dickinson
Rhyme - No set rhyme scheme, but rhyme does exist in the poem.
Tone - coy and modest
Type of poem - Lyrical
This poem struck me as unusual for Emily Dickinson witting. A poem about love, although not unheard of, is nonetheless unusual for Dickinson. It shows a different side of her. Do you believe that the relationships we share on earth will continue in the afterlife? THANK YOU!