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Emily Dickinson and her Poems.

AP Lit Poetry Project. Jordan Alexander and Abby Nehring p.4
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Abby Nehring

on 2 November 2012

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Transcript of Emily Dickinson and her Poems.

Emily Dickinson AP Lit Poetry Project
Abby Nehring and Jordan Alexander
P. 4 TOASTTT for
"Luck is not chance" T: Title T: Title Family Rumored Loves Lifestyle Her Life * Father: Edward Dickinson, involved in state and national politics. Served in Congress for one term. * Emily lived in almost complete isolation. * Reverend Charles Wadsworth * Emily Dickinson's titles for her poetry are just the first line of the first stanza, so in a way there is no title. But at the same time, the first line is always indicative of the theme of the poem. *"Luck is not chance" -
Seems to suggest that the poem will offer an explanation to what luck actually is, if it is not chance. Luck and chance are commonly identified as synonyms, therefore, the first line (and functioning title) is intriguing. History * Born: 1830 in Amherst Massachusetts * Attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for one year * Died: 1886 in Amherst Massachusetts * 40 volumes, approximately 1800 of her poems were discovered and published posthumously * Brother: Austin Dickinson, attended law school and became an attorney. Moved in next door after marrying Susan Gilbert. * Sister: Lavinia Dickinson, lived at home her entire life. * Emily was extremely close to her family her whole life. She rarely left her home, her family also served as her intellectual companions. * She actively maintained correspondence with many people although physical visitors were rare. * She left Mount Holyoke after only one year because of severe homesickness. * Many of her poems include themes of loneliness. * Her puritan upbringing also influenced her poetic style. * Emily never married, although she had several rumored lovers. * Otis P. Lord, a Massachusetts Supreme Court Judge * Influenced by Metaphysical Poetry of 17th century England. * Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield Republican * Susan Gilbert, Austin Dickinson's wife, her sister-in-law. TOASTTT for
" Hope is the thing with feathers" Hope is the thing with feathers
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me. * From the title, "Hope is the thing with feathers" the reader knows she will be comparing hope to a bird. O: Own Words * This poem is an extended metaphor comparing hope to a bird that perches in the soul, singing selflessly, and its song is heard loudest in the midst of a storm. * Essentially, hope is the strongest and sweetest when we face difficulty. * The speaker is reflecting on her own experience, saying " I've heard [hope] in the chillest land, and on the strangest sea." A: Analyze poetic devices used S: Shifts T: Tone * L: Language: the placement of adjectives and descriptive phrases before the nouns they modify makes the poem more sensory. (sweetest in the gale is heard, sore must be the storm, chilliest land, strangest sea) * I: Images:a little bird perching in the soul, singing – strong and persevering, but delicate, maybe even fragile. Chill lands, strange seas, and sore storms, to me, have a cold, grey connotation. And the bird’s wordless song is sweet and warming. If I were to write a poem on the same theme, I might compare hope to hot chocolate. * D: Details:details are descriptions rather than events, and are evenly (and sparsely) distributed throughout the poem. “tune without the words”, “the little bird/That kept so many warm” * D: Diction:word choice is based on rhyme and assonance, and adds to the details of the poem by utilizing words with stronger connotations than their more common synonyms: i.e. perch instead of sit, chillest instead of coldest, abash instead of silence, crumb instead of anything. * S: Sentence Structure: phrases separated by commas and semi colons, inverted phrases. Two sentences T: Title T: Theme O: Own Words A: Analyze poetic devices S: Shifts T: Title T: Tone T: Theme * extended metaphor comparing hope to a bird * metaphor comparing difficult times in life to a storm trying to keep the bird from singing * personification of a storm * rhyme or assonance contributes to the rhythm- it could be sung. It's reminiscent of the unfailing singing of the bird and the constancy of hope. * alliteration- strongest sea * consonance/ assonance- / sore-storm *The first stanza compares hope to a bird, unfailing in its singing.
*The second stanza says that the song is cannot be drowned out by the storm, and in fact the song is sweetest in the midst of the gale.
*The last stanza has two thoughts: the first is that hope is always there – even “in the chillest land and on the strangest sea”, and then using the word “yet” signals a shift to the idea that hope is always there and never asks anything in return.
* All three stanzas stick to the main idea – comparing hope to a bird, but speaking impersonally until the last stanza. The first two stanzas are the same sentence, and the third stanza is also a sentence. Both contain commas and semicolons that aid in coherency of the ideas. *Instead of simply indicating the metaphor the poem is based on, upon more thorough analysis the title seem to say more about the theme of the poem – hope – than I originally thought it did.
* Hope, even though it may be small, is beautiful and delicate. If it has feathers, does it have wings?
* Hope certainly seems to fly away from us sometimes. This poem is about the experience of hope common to all humans, especially hope’s ability to sustain us during times of trouble. General information about the poetry of Emily Dickinson * used every day, concrete objects and activities to convey deeper, abstract themes common to humanity, especially: wonder of nature, identity of self, death - of oneself or another - and what follows it, and love. Luck is not a chance Luck is not chance—
It's Toil—
Fortune's expensive smile
Is earned—
The Father of the Mine
Is that old-fashioned Coin
We spurned— * uses her wit to create hidden meanings and describe with both pathos and humor. *generally short - sometimes a few lines, sometime ten or so stanzas, but usually between 2 and 4 * first person observations, thought, and feeling, though not necessarily about herself. *affected by her Puritan/conservative Christian upbringing and New England setting. *titled only 10 or so of her approx. 1800 poems * meter and rhythm determined more by syllable emphasis than by the number of syllables *"slant rhyme" - not exact, sometimes assonance or no rhyme at all * most often punctuated her poems with dashes (and symbols of her own invention - squiggles, vertical lines, different length dashes that may or may not have had individual meanings: perhaps pauses when reading, or bridges between concepts) rather than commas or periods, but did both. *Luck is not really about chance, it’s about hard work. Fortune, the poem says, is hard earned. If people want to make money today, they need to adopt an old fashioned work ethic. *Personification – fortune’s expensive smile: fortune does not smile upon you unless you earn it, and it is hard earned. Hard work is personified as the father of the mine – from hard work comes wealth
*Metaphor: hard work is the father of the mine of fortune
*Rhyme: line four and line seven –“is earned”, “we spurned”
*Assonance and consonance as slant rhyme: toil, smile, mine, coin
*Rhythm: not based on number of syllables per line, but on syllables with emphasis.
*Imagery: Fortune’s expensive smile, a spurned old-fashioned coin,
*Symbolism: hard work is an old fashioned coin – what used to be wealth, hard work, is now undesirable.
*Capitalization of the words Luck, Toil, Fortune, Father, Mine, Coin, and We emphasize them and the concepts they may stand for *After the first two lines, which introduce the theme of the poem, hard work is the real luck, the poem goes on to explain that hard work is necessary for success, and then ends by suggesting that people today don’t like the idea of hard work. Dashes seem to replace periods, or could simply represent these shifts of thought and the whole poem could be considered one sentence.
*Language: language remains fairly simple throughout, in contrast with concepts that get steadily more complicated as the poem progresses *Images: fortune’s expensive smile is a great image, with personification and symbolic meaning behind it. *Details: descriptive, conceptual details are found in the last three lines: “The Father of the Mine is that old-fashioned Coin we Spurned” *Diction: use of plain language throughout contrasts with steadily more complicated symbolism. *Sentence Structure: there are no periods, and capitalization is based on emphasis rather than punctuation. Dashes may or may not replace periods; periods make sense grammatically where the dashes are, but the author clearly did not want to separate the concepts and instead used punctuation to link them all together. *The first line/title of the poem, "Luck is not chance", grounds the reader to poem’s main idea, allowing the author to hint at more abstract concepts without losing us completely. *The speaker of the poem is collective “we” – toil, luck, and desire for success are themes common to the human experience. The poem also has a theme of acknowledgment of the hard work that goes into success, producing the seemingly "lucky" people who have accomplished things. * Varied feelings of loneliness and wanting something, or inspirational and personal accounts of happiness
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