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Live, Living Life
At first glance, Emily Dickinson’s poem #470 seems to be written by a depressed and apathetic person. However, upon further examination, it is clear she is not depressed or apathetic. She is, in fact, enlightened and concerned. Emily Dickinson detests “accepted society.” She believes it is a void, which one cannot easily escape from, and she feels the need to enlighten her readers and give them ability and drive to break the chains of imprisonment. Dickinson’s consistent and constant use of the same forms of meter, tone, rhythm, and sound brilliantly creates a level of security and stability in the poem, which she destroys in an effort to emphasize the instability, chaos, and false security in “accepted society,” as well as point out her view of how to overcome these tribulations.
Initially, the poem seems to be a call from a very depressed author who “guesses” she is alive and dreams of her own funeral. While reading the poem for the first time, one immediately falls into the rhythm and “flows” with the poem. The iambic meter, the meter and style of normal speech, is easy to read and not very taxing on the brain, lips, or eyes. This sets up a strong, secure base, which allows for quick reading of the poem, an error that Dickinson wants the reader to make. The swift flow of the words abruptly halts, with the frequent pauses and punctuation of the last stanza. The once graceful flow now resembles that of stop-and-go rush-hour traffic, tripping the reader up and forcing the tone of the poem to change. One must now reread the poem in order to understand why the author chooses to destroy such a brilliant and completely iambic poem, a feat not easily accomplished.
Upon reading the poem again, it takes on a much slower, softer rhythm, creating a somber tone. A pause is discovered after each foot, forcing the reader to reflect on what was just read. No longer can one view the poem as...
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