Emotion In Emily Dickinson's “My Life Had Stood – A Loaded Gun”

1096 words - 4 pages

This poem was written by American poet, Emily Dickinson, who was born in the 1800. This was the period where art was based on emotion; the “Romantic Period”. She was also born in the Victorian Era, where women had to be shackled to their pedestals and most had to be married by age eighteen. They were not allowed to vote, or earn money. This information should help the reader better understand the poem. When writing the poem “My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun” Dickinson thought of what format to use to express her emotions; Quatrain (four verses). This format is used to express deep emotions at any time. She uses lines in her poem that seem the same but not quite; they are “slant rhymes”. Dickinson grew up in a time where abolition rose up (which is why her poetry is so deep); and in the most religious, morally upright and independent sections of the United States. Dickinson represents herself and her life, metaphorically, as a loaded gun, a phallic symbol that is associated with masculinity; everything “women” is not. Dickinson’s studies include her affairs as well as alleged relationships in regards to her sexuality, her absurdity in a mocking sense when looking at the women of her time, as well as even challenging the idea of Dickinson as a peculiar loner; therefore, explaining her position/emotions in a feministic world.
In Dickinson’s “MyLife Had Stood—A Loaded Gun”, was viewed literally, thinking the poem was regarding a gun and its owner. After reading the poem over and over again the reader picks up on the emotions the writer portrays. Dickinson’s poetry carries deep emotion with her personal life and views. She uses the gun to speak out everything masculine: “Loaded Gun” (1) cruel not pleasant, “hunt the Doe” (6) kills not one who nurtures. These are all things women are not. When the poem is read at first it comes off as master and their gun/weapon. The poem is a metaphor, which on the symbolic level, the “Gun” represents the poet and the “Master” represents the individual or soul mate that was meant to be the “poet”.
When the poet starts the poem with “My life had stood,” (1) Dickinson clearly transgresses confines no female might lightly afford to break. Than “a Loaded Gun” (1) which is a metaphor for authority; since “guns” represent being in control, in charge, and masculinity. “In Corners--” (2) is the impression that the poet felt useless until his/her soul mate came for her “carried Me away--” (4) The poet embarks on what she fancies as characteristically masculine adventures, “And now We roam in Sovreign Woods--/ And now We hung the Doe,” (5-6) to end in innocence. From lines 7-8 she speaks for him “God/Sex” and the mountains shut her up quickly. She speaks as though she remembers a sexual encounter, “And do I smile, such a cordial light / Upon the Valley glow--” (9-10). From line 11-12 she is referring to a sarcastic face that quickly softens yet her pleasure has shown through not a false smile but genuine pleasure. From the...

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