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    Conceit in Dickinson’s poetry Essay

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    One of the functions of metaphors is to evoke an aesthetic or emotional effect, even when in some cases it is required certain background knowledge and imagination for a better understanding. Among the different varieties of metaphor, the one analyzed here, the ‘conceit’ owns its singularity to its main basis as an extended kind of metaphor, consisting on comparing two elements that otherwise would not have been considered any similar. Usually many conceits prevail in poetry and are used in other cases.

    What conceits do is mixing and transforming ideas and images in non-expected ways. In the case of the poem ‘Hope’ the conceit works as the central theme of the poem, consisting on a complex comparison between an abstract and a concrete idea. The idea of hope works as the tenor of the metaphor, the main element, while the image or idea of a bird works as the vehicle element to which is compared; the poem uses the bird for a metaphorical definition of hope, and that metaphor is maintained during the whole poem thus establishing innovative comparisons that we call conceit.

    In deed this essay aims to carry out an analysis on how the continued use of metaphor in this poem provokes an effect and transmits a message along the poem, in aspects such as the intention in using it, the effect in the poem itself and so on and so forth. The author of the poem is Emily Dickinson, who was an original and eccentric poet; due to the different stylistic stages in her life she is considered a transitional figure.

    In general her style was too innovative for the period, her poetry difficult to read, even sometimes she added errors or punctuation mistakes like dashes or capitalized words; she never titled her poems and her language was very experimental. She manipulated shape and meaning of words, one way to do so was through the conceit, as will be shown in the analysis. In her writings she was generally close to religion, mysticism and nature. Her style was so influenced by the English Romantics and Shakespeare, both strongly characterized by the use of metaphors. She generally wrote in iambic or trochaic feet.

    Her poems were usually short but full of meaning and difficulty, and that contributed to build poems’ intensity. It was quite typical from her to make strange comparisons or creating sharp contrasts, as for instance the one in the poem here; what she does is to coin a poetic definition of what for her represented the feeling of hope. She attaches to the notion of hope, physical qualities of a living being, in this case a bird. That establishes a contrast in itself, because ‘hope’ implies an abstract feeling while a ‘bird’ represents a physical and tangible reality.

    In connection to the recurrent topics in Dickinson works, is worth to highlight that the poet builds a contrast between the characteristics of a feeling and an animal, two elements that otherwise hardly ever would be related. This illustrates both the innovations present in the style of the poet and also the importance that Nature and Mysticism had in her writings. Nature is embodied here by a bird which acts as the vehicle of the metaphor and also the nor, in this case the feeling of hope, can be understood as having mystic connotations.

    The feeling of hope is described in a way as sharing many characteristics or qualities with a bird. That is the essence of the poem, represented by means of an extended metaphor or conceit through the three stanzas. This poem is one of her first works; it is part of a major work called Life. In great extent the meaning in the poem is conveyed by the conceit, id est.. The general meaning revolves around the extended metaphor established between a bird and the feeling of hope.

    Structurally it is divided in three stanzas, the connection of hope ND bird is established since the very beginning of the poem, in the first line when it says ‘ “Hope” is the thing with feathers -‘. Then the text gradually evolves and develops more and more this first metaphor, by means of complementing it with more qualities proper of birds, in an attempt to express a poetic view of hope. For instance feathers are characteristic of birds and as the style of Emily Dickinson is characterized by complexity, she probably used that term instead of ‘bird’ itself, for aesthetic reasons or to provide the poem with some intensity and complexity.

    The mint is that this first line introduces the conceit, in this case it consists on associating the most symbolic characteristics of birds to the feeling of hope. Probably the animal was chosen due to the positive and ancient connotations that it has. The feathers do not mean anything in particular but by mentioning them the readers realize of the trick and see the connection between hope’s properties with those of a bird but without explicitly saying it.

    In the second line the metaphor continues when it says ‘That perches in the soul -the tenor of the metaphor is still the feeling of pop, but is omitted here and the entire line acts as the vehicle. Now the shocking image of the bird compared to hope starts to make more sense by means of reminding that birds can remain sat and still for long periods of time but always present. What can be inferred in a subjective way as the point of comparison is that hope even when not always so energetically is always in the human soul like a bird that sings and stay in his branch.

    Hope here is portrayed as something always present in the human soul. The third line describes also another quality typical of a bird that is singing. The point in adding the connotation Without words’ can be that as well as birds’ songs can transmit a message or evoke a feeling on people even when not consciously or impossible to understand; the same happens with hope, sometimes it is a pure product of emotions that can not be expressed by words but can affect people. The last line of the stanza says that ‘hope never stops’ this can be connected to the fact that birds sing much part of the day.

    In general what can be said about this stanza is that it is an attempt to highlight some aspects about the feeling of hope at the same mime as projecting a visual and poetic image of it in an innovative way. It symbolically reflects and relate the fact of having hope in the soul with a bird’s song. It establishes a conceit in the sense that they are two elements that would not be usually connected, but what it does is to relate these different elements in unexpected ways and also creating a creative image that can evoke impressions about the other.

    In this poem the imagery and the powerful symbolism are so important and influential in conveying the meaning, what is more, they establish different comparisons that easily an be interpreted and understood even when the two elements compared differ greatly. Somehow the abstract feeling of hope is personalized by means of attaching characteristics of a living being in order to coin a relationship of similarity. In the second stanza the image created by the conceit continues in the shape of a description of the value of hope but personified in the figure of the bird.

    Here certain background knowledge is needed, for instance with the word ‘Gale’ that alludes to a strong storm or wind. (Internet 1) The poem describes the image of a bird’s song heard in the storm, as something so attic and sweet. Equally poetic and sweet can be hope even when exposed to danger or adverse conditions too, but only for faith-holders and people with hope. ‘Gale’ is capitalized probably with the intention to emphasize the bad conditions and thus to highlight and recall the power and sweetness of the tenor.

    Then the tone changes slightly and suggest again how hope is always powerful unless under so much pain. In these lines hope is highly valued and treated as a virtue. It is shocking how ‘Bird’ is capitalized in this stanza and preceded by the word little, one can infer that even when little, hope can be so strong. It is impossible not to have any fears or worries in life, but also this metaphor built on ‘keeping warm’ tries to express that no matter what the conditions are, is almost impossible to end with hope because it lives on people (kept so many warm).

    It is expressed by using the image of a little bird compared to hope, for instance by a bird keeping warm eggs and the feeling of hope living in many souls like Warming the souls of many. The tone turns more personal and optimistic in the last stanza; here the poet uses a voice in first person, the other two stanzas are more descriptions of the heartsickness of hope and the last one is kind of account of a personal view. Until this moment the poem only had the projection of symbolic associations between the experience of having hope by describing characteristics of birds.

    Here the poetic speaker continues the conceit by explaining metaphorically a personal view on hope. People can always hear the birds singing even in hard times and it is considered a gift of nature, no matter what is the situation , so in a way the poem tries to mean that hope, as melodies of birds, never disappears at all, and is for free at the same time as something priceless to own. The metaphor and personal tone here also make the stanza more intense and dynamic. The image evoked by ‘chilliest land’ makes the lines more dramatic at the same time as making readers think more, associate and guess possible meanings.

    Other significant aspects in this stanza apart from the metaphor, are for instance the capitalization of the word ‘extremity to emphasize the intensity again; also the addition of dashes to make the poem more complex and different. What the poet does is using figures of speech in an attempt to express the enduring nature of hope. It could be said that in a rough way the conceit n the poem describes hope as a bird living in the souls of human beings; as mentioned before, birds are usually associated with good connotations. In general the last stanza complements the description of hope as a valuable feeling in human life.

    It is done by means of continuing the conceit in the form of constant metaphors with different intentions. According to Emily Dickinson style this structure and form of the poem is quite logical in her; this is because she saw the act of Joining words as the aim of the poet, to create again, innovating and linking abstract and physical things, as in this case he feeling of hope with the qualities of a bird. She applied metaphor as the tool to adapt physical characteristics to an abstract feeling such as hope and thus provoking unexpected associations at the same time as describing that feeling in a really particular way.

    The relationships are established by means of guessing and relating possible meanings while reading these characteristics of the bird, then readers must apply these meanings to the feeling of hope; for instance in the following lines: ( Franklin, R. W. 19 In a rough way and without further interpretation, if somebody reads Just lines, they seem to be telling about the strength of a bird. They can be elite interpreted as a way to express that a bird is so strong. The lines say that need to happen something so bad, as a great storm, to end with the bird. His way of interpreting the lines, on the other side, taking into account the adaptor of hope seen as a bird, there is other meaning evoked. The 20th is that of hope considered a strong feeling that is not easy to destroy. The intended meaning of the poem is transmitted by exploring the different v the metaphors through the poem that evokes the personal view of the taut issue of hope; for example the last line in the poem conveys the meaning seen as a total gift, that we have without the need of anything in return.

    To recall the main relationships establishes poem, they are in summary: the notion of hope as a bird that stands in the that can be applied for hope in the soul; the bird that constantly sings re eternity of hope, it will always exist; and finally that the bird never asks of tries to represent the free condition of hope. Now before bringing the essay to an end it is needed to draw a list on important aspects and points dealt through the essay in order to draw a general conclusion on the use of the technique of the conceit in this Poe Dickinson called ‘Hope’.

    What has been done in this paper is a close anally metaphors that, on the whole, form a conceit in the poem. In order to intent goal of the conceit here, it is needed to study and analyses before the mea functions of each element that conforms the conceit. In this case the multi metaphors that use the image of a bird, act as the vehicle of the metaphor conceit, and the tenor of the metaphor is the feeling of hope. The poem t examines an abstract idea, as it is the notion of hope, through the establish comparisons with images off bird.

    It is worth doing an analysis of the m a poem, because after a process of analysis the individual becomes aware value that these figures of speech can add to a written text whether in pr These figures intensify the contents and have an aesthetic intention. Is by these figures also that is possible connecting different elements that the aridly ever would be associated or related. They allow the reader to stay conventions and not only going into the literal meaning but also going be finding new meanings, more imaginative and poetic.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Conceit in Dickinson’s poetry Essay. (2018, Jan 19). Retrieved from

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