Emily Dickinson is an American poet of exclusion, whose writing consists of passionate and emotional eccentric meanings with much complexity. Her poems interpret her relationship with society, where she struggles to maintain her Independence and needs to Isolate from society to malignant this. Dickinson use of structure, syntax and rhyme are complex and do not conform to the norms of poetic structure, which Is a parallel to Emily peculiar lifestyle. Dickinson poem ‘A prison gets to be a friend’ explores her complicated understanding of limitation and freedom, reflecting her self-imposed isolation, wrought a male persona.
A prison symbolizes confinement however, this limitation provides freedom for Dickinson persona which is depicted in the opening line of the poem. The narrator explains her contentment with isolation when she says that a prison “gets to be a friend”. This use of personification establishes the idea that the persona feels comfortable in their confinement, as If it were a friend. This signifies how Emily enjoys seclusion and has chosen a prison to be her refuge. In the following stanza, Emily shows appreciation of her confinement through, “the appointed Beam” which symbolizes something that provides the persona with support and structure.
She uses symbolism of food In the second stanza when she writes “It deals us- stated as our food” to represent how the persona not only hungers, but depends on the self- imposed isolation. Dickinson uses juxtaposition to explain the seclusion of a prison by saying “so miserable a sound-at first- nor ever now-so sweet’, describing a prison as both miserable and sweet. This implies that although isolation may seem miserable at first, the privacy and exclusion will eventually grow on you and you begin to appreciate it.
The reoccurring metaphor of a prison being the persona’s room is explored when she says ‘A geometric Joy, which suggests that the square shape of a room and Its limited circuit brings contentment and comfort to the persona. In the fourth and fifth stanza, the Idea that the prison and the key are an Illusion Is acknowledged when Emily uses the word ‘Phantasm’ proving to the audience that In actuality Dickinson has created this way of life and Is satisfied with the privacy it provides. In the final stanza, Dickinson imply that freedom can only be redeemed after life when she writes ‘Too wide for any Night but Heaven’.
This suggests that you can’t experience freedom until after life, and until then the persona’s self created prison is the only sense of freedom they can gain. With the use of language and structure used through Emily poetry her understanding of life is clearly depicted as unique, as Dickinson recognizes the way in which she finds contentment is of a depressing nature in comparison to the way others gain happiness. From this poem the audience may come to the conclusion that the persona’s view on confinement is an expression of Dickinson understanding of freedom and Limitation throughout life.
The poem ‘l had been hungry should be read metaphorically, as standing for the speakers desire for what she lacks and what others possess. Emily reflects on her one, Emily writes ” I had been hungry all the years” displaying through the use of a sustained metaphor of ‘hunger’ that Emily had been lacking something all her life. This statement is written in past tense implying to the reader that Dickinson has now found or come to a conclusion about her desire for what she believed she was lacking.
Dickinson is using the word ‘curious’ to describe the wine, which represents err connection with people and their way of life which to her is difficult to understand where as to most it would be normal. Emily lack of indulgence in human connection is depicted in the second stanza when she couples the word ‘hungry with the word ‘home’ displaying that to Dickinson it was normal not to have that emotional connection. In stanza two, Emily uses the window to symbolism the barrier between the persona and the world they want to inhabit, insinuating that Emily does not belong.
In the following stanza, Dickinson uses Juxtaposition of a crumb to bread to highlight how different her world and the real world are. This is also a metaphor to represent her life and how she doesn’t believe she has experienced the fullness of life’s potential experiences yet. Stanza four begins with ‘plenty hurt me’ as a metaphor for the negative impact that was created by these new experiences her persona had faced. Emily writing ‘myself felt ill and odd’ outlines that once passion and love were obtained she couldn’t cope with having it and felt uncomfortable.
What she believed she desired she later discovered it was not what she wanted and was too much for her to handle. This made Emily feel alienated and spliced which is further implied when she says in the fourth stanza ‘ as a berry of a mountain bush transplanted to the road’. This simile expresses to the reader that although Emily chose this lifestyle for herself she understood it was not following the norms of society and made her a person of difference resulting in the experience of alienation and displacement.
Throughout this poem Emily sustained metaphor of hunger allowed the audience to realism, by stanza 5, that she is defined by hunger when she says ‘ so I found that hunger was a way, which she clearly chose. The last nine ‘entering takes away is a paradox which explains how experiencing the different ways of life has changed her and made her more confident in her purposely excluded way of living. Dickinson understand of disappointment in life is explored through the belief that we may often covet something which, once we receive it, disappoints us.
This is what happened to Emily once she obtained passion and romance she realized it doesn’t create fulfillment, however her unusual lifestyle is what brings the most satisfaction to her. Emily Dickinson conveys her understanding of immortality that is achieved through he written word in her poem “A word dropped careless on a page”. Dickinson use of syntax on the word ‘careless’ in the first sentence puts emphasis the affect of the incorrect grammar of one word. This can reflect to a humans life and the choices they make, although being a small mistake it could have a large impact.
Emily follows this with imagery of words being ‘dropped’ on a page to hold a metaphor for a human life and display how fragile a life can be, and how the way in which that life is lived could encourage good or bad situations. In the first stanza the use of the word perpetual is laced ironically as it is followed by an abrupt stop. This enjambment highlights the choices can have an impact that will last forever. The second stanza is started with visual imagery of disease “infection”.
This illness is a sustained metaphor within the poem, as she defines the infection as ‘malaria’, which will not disappear Just like the written word will not disappear. The existence of the written word is exaggerated with the characteristics of being immortal, in the second stanza and the use of a hyperbola enforces a long existence to words when Emily writes ” A distance of centuries”. Therefore, Emily understanding of immortality is greatly influenced by the written word and how she considers that perhaps her writing may have an impact after she is gone.
These poems with themes of immortality, disappointment and freedom complement each other to help portray how Dickinson represents complex ideas of understanding life through her poetry. Although most may see a lack of human connection as a sad, unsatisfying lifestyle, we as her audience must accept that this is Emily Dickinson chosen path for her unique way of gaining contentment, dealing with society and maintaining her independence.