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Emily Dickinson Readings.docx

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McGill University
English (Arts)
ENGL 226
Kait Pinder

Emily Dickinson Readings "I'M 'WIFE'--I'VE FINISHED THAT" Identify • I'm "Wife"--I've finished that • This being comfort, then/ That other kind was pain;/ But why compare?/ I'm wife! stop there! Meaning • marriage is a safe "state", convenient and expected • thought she would become a real Woman through marriage, or would become head of household (Czar) • "safer" for a woman to be married • speaker tries to convince herself • "soft Eclipse" means marriage will eclipse her self, though she might not see it coming • last stanza is the speaker pushing aside doubts • single state and marriage cannot compare "THE SOUL SELECTS HER OWN SOCIETY" Identify • The soul selects her own society • I've known her from an ample nation/ Choose one;/ Then close the valves of her attention/ Like stone. Meaning • people choose a select few confidants and exclude all others • ritualistic/ceremonial images • does not tolerate entry into the Soul's Society once the door is shut • severe exclusivity • last stanza places emphasis on the chosen one "I DIED FOR BEAUTY--BUT WAS SCARCE" Identify • I died for beauty--but was scarce • And so, as kinsmen met a night,/ We talked between the rooms,/ Until the moss had reached our lips,/ And covered up our names. Meaning • truth and beauty are the same; brethren • martyrdom and optimistic afterlife • terror at the thought of death itself • eventual loss of identity as the moss covers her lips and name • death erases every part of human life; nothing remains once we die ◦ yet this is a gradual loss process "BECAUSE I COULD NOT STOP FOR DEATH--" Identify • Because I could not stop for death • We slowly drove, he knew no haste,/ And had put away/ My labor, and my leisure too,/ For his civility. Meaning • journey with Death from life to afterlife • Death stops for her, when
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