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Dickinson’s Poetry

Emily Dickinson

“Success is counted sweetest...”

Themes, Motifs & Symbols

“ ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—...”

Summary

The speaker says that “those who ne’er succeed” place the highest value on success. (They “count” it “sweetest”.) To understand the value of a nectar, the speaker says, one must feel “sorest need.” She says that the members of the victorious army (“the purple Host / Who took the flag today”) are not able to define victory as well as the defeated, dying man who hears from a distance the music of the victors.

Form

The three stanzas of this poem take the form of iambic trimeter—with the exception of the first two lines of the second stanza, which add a fourth stress at the end of the line. (Virtually all of Dickinson’s poems are written in an iambic meter that fluctuates fluidly between three and four stresses.) As in most of Dickinson’s poems, the stanzas here rhyme according to an ABCB scheme, so that the second and fourth lines in each stanza constitute the stanza’s only rhyme.

Commentary

Many of Emily Dickinson’s most famous lyrics take the form of homilies, or short moral sayings, which appear quite simple but that actually describe complicated moral and psychological truths. “Success is counted sweetest” is such a poem; its first two lines express its homiletic point, that “Success is counted sweetest / By those who ne’er succeed” (or, more generally, that people tend to desire things more acutely when they do not have them). The subsequent lines then develop that axiomatic truth by offering a pair of images that exemplify it: the nectar—a symbol of triumph, luxury, “success”—can best be comprehended by someone who “needs” it; the defeated, dying man understands victory more clearly than the victorious army does. The poem exhibits Dickinson’s keen awareness of the complicated truths of human desire (in a later poem on a similar theme, she wrote that “Hunger—was a way / Of Persons outside Windows— / The Entering—takes away—”), and it shows the beginnings of her terse, compacted style, whereby complicated meanings are compressed into extremely short phrases (e.g., “On whose forbidden ear”).

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The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson crossword

by crosswords1, September 28, 2013

This time, we got the following crossword puzzle clue : The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson that also known as The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson 5 letters . First, we gonna look for more hints to the The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson crossword puzzle . Then we will collect all the require information and for solving The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson crossword . In the final, we get all the possible answers for the this crossword puzzle definition.
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Hope poem analysis

by Nerradnahc, February 21, 2014

What is hope? Hope is what gives someone the feeling that they still can succeed even when everything is against them. It gives someone the will to go on even when there is only a small chance. In the poem “Hope” the poet Emily Dickinson describes hope as an never ending greatness that “perches in the soul”, it’s inside you and keeps you warm. Hope can not be put down easily and never ask for anything even in tough times. In this poem, Emily Dickinson describes hope as a lively, confident bird that go against chillest land and stra... Read more

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Biblical Allusion

by 14elusky, April 13, 2014

I think it's possible that this poem has a biblical allusion when it refers to the bird. Dickinson was raised in the transcendentalist era, and there was a lot of criticism oriented around the bible. The allusion could be that Jesus was said to give bread to people of poverty. He then told them not to eat the bread without giving the crumbs to the bird. I think this relates to the poem because man and nature was seen as one, while now they are considered to be vastly divided.

I'm not religious so I have no idea if this is correct or ... Read more

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