Poetry Essay, Research Paper
This poem was very hard to make an argument for to tell what it means. The poem deals with the idea of depression, hurt, weighted choices, and death. It is the most uplifting of poems, but I don t think Emily Dickinson was trying to make it that way. She uses the idea of winter to represent darkness, the comparison of the weight of a choice the heft of Cathedral tunes. She uses a line, which states that there are internal differences to represent emotional not physical problems. She also say s that no one can teach the person how to make the right decision, showing that the person is on their own to make their own choices. The poem has many prosodic characteristics as well. The poem seems to have a regular pattern of syllables. It never goes over 8 syllables and never falls below 5. It all sticks to an ABAB format, with a slight change in the third stanza.
The Poem starts off with an ABAB format. In the first stanza it is exactly ABAB format. The first line consists of 7 syllables. The second line has 5. The third has 7, while the fourth has 5. Making the first stanza a 7,5,7,5 pattern of syllables. The second paragraph has ABAB format. The first line has 7 syllables, the second has 5, the third has 7, and the fourth has 5. The second stanza also sticks to the 7,5,7,5 pattern of syllables. The Third stanza doesn t stick to the 7,5,7,5 pattern it goes 5,6,8,5. It is also the only stanza that does not stick to a certain pattern. The first two stanza s stick with 7,5,7,5, and the last goes 8,5,8,5. It also does not stick to the ABAB format it follows the ABCA format. The third stanza is also the only stanza in the poem, which the ABAB format does not come into effect. In the first two and the last stanza they both stick to this format this stanza in the poem also is directed more towards the person being alone rather than emphasizing the problem. This stanza is kind of a weak one. I don t think it really fits in the poem. It doesn t really deal with the issue at hand in the poem.
What I think the poem meant may be different from what the author thinks, but poems mean different things to different people. When I read the poem I thought what I got out of it might be just because the mood I was in. After reading it on several different occasions I still found that the poem meant the same thing every time. I have separated the poem into each stanza by taking one main theme from each. I found that when I did this, it was too broad of an understanding of the poem. So you have to take each line to really understand this poem.
There s a certain Slant of Light,
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral tunes-
In stanza 1 introduces the idea of a light. I believe the light represents a pain or an emotional conflict within. The idea of winter, I think represents darkness. This darkness weighs down on your soul like the heft or weight of Cathedral tunes.
Heavenly hurt, it gives us-
We can find no scar,
But internal Difference,
Where the Meanings, are-
In stanza 2 the idea of a Heavenly hurt, which I think means that the person has to make a moral decision. I think this moral choice is pushing the person toward depression, which was represented by the darkness of winter. There are no physical scars but there will be internal scars for making the wrong decision.
None may teach it Any-
Tis the Seal of despair-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air-
In Stanza 3 it deals with the idea that the person is alone and must make the decision on his or her own. The person has been imposed this problem and the problem deals with some form of pain. It doesn t necessarily be a physical pain but maybe an emotional pain.
When it comes, the Landscape listens-
Shadows hold their breath-
When it goes, tis like the Distance
On the look of Death
In stanza 4 it brings up the idea of the light again, saying when it comes (the light = the choice), the person has to make a decision. When they do they will be separated from the rest of society and probably seen as castaways.
In conclusion I found that the poem very hard to dissect and figure out a true meaning for it. From what I read and tried to get from the poem was that it was a very dark poem. The person in the poem didn t necessarily have to be the author and it wasn t the reader. I think the author may have been talking about a person she knows or it could have been a choice the author had to make in life. That part of the poem I do not know. I do know that it for the most part stuck to a strict format in the beginning of the poem but half way through it, it changed and in the third stanza of the poem it stuck to no format at all and it came back together in the final stanza of the poem. The argument of the poem went hand in hand with the prosody of the poem. Like the prosody the argument changes in the third stanza and comes back in the fourth.