Originally Posted by degenerate10
The teacher gave us an assignment today about Emily Dickinson. We were each given one of her poems and we must read the poem, write the general meanings of each line, analyze each line, and we have to relate the poem to her life.
I'm having trouble with all of the above. If you can help me it would be much appreciated or if you could send me a link to a website that would help it would also be appreciated.
This assignment is worth 200 points so I really need a good grade.
Dickinson's life was spent in almost complete seclusion in Amherst, Mass, and her works were only "discovered" posthumously. In many ways, she was achingly aware of the fact that her poetry would never reach a mass audience, largely because she was a woman. This was a painful fact for her. So in that sense, the "letter to the world" that "never wrote to" her was perhaps the way her art engaged a world that did not reciprocate; only Thomas Higginson and her sister-in-law Sue saw the main body of her work during her lifetime.
As far as explicating the poem itself, I would ask yourself a handful of questions: 1. Who is speaking to whom? 2. To what antecedents do the pronouns "Her" and "Me" refer? 3. Which lines/phrases might contain multiple/ambiguous meanings? Which are more certain? 4. Which words are repeated? Why are they repeated? 5. Which lines rhyme? Why? 6. Now obviously Dickinson used dashes constantly, but not without reason: why the flurry of dashes at the end? (Yes, even THEY are significant).