Pain Within The Context Of Time essay example

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Poem #640: interpretation Essay written by Rumina Ferrante I cannot live with You? It would be Life? And Life is over there Behind the Shelf The Sexton keeps the Key to? Putting up Our life? His Porcelain?

Like a Cup? Discarded of the Housewife? Quaint? or Broke? A newer Sevres pleases? Old Ones crack?

I could not die? with You? For One must wait To shut the Other's Gaze down? You? could not? And I? Could I stand by And see You? freeze?

Without my Right of Frost? Death's privilege? Nor could I rise? with You? Because Your Face Would put out Jesus?? That New Grace Glow plain? and foreign On my homesick Eye? Except that You than He Shone closer by?

They? d judge Us? How? For You? served Heaven? You know, Or sought to?

I could not? Because You saturated Sight? And I had no more Eyes For sordid excellence As Paradise And were You lost, I would be? Though My Name Rang loudest On the Heavenly fame? And were You? saved? And I? condemned to be Where You were not?

That self? were Hell to Me? So We must meet apart? You there? I? here? With just the Door ajar That Oceans are? and Prayer? And that White Sustenance?

Despair? "I cannot live with You', by Emily Dickinson, is an emotional poem in which she shares her experiences and thoughts on death and love. Some critics believe that she has written about her struggle with death and her desire to have a relationship with a man whose vocation was ministerial, Reverend Charles Wadsworth. She considers suicide as an option for relieving the pain she endures, but decides against it. The narrator, more than likely Emily herself, realizes that death will leave her even further away from the one that she loves. There is a possibility that they will never be together again.

"Arguing with herself, Dickinson considers three major resolutions for the frustrations she is seeking to define and to resolve. Each of these resolutions is expressed in negative form: living wither her lover, dying with him, and discovering a world beyond nature. Building on this series of negations, Dickinson advances a catalogue of reasons for her covenant with despair, which are both final and insufficient. Throughout, she excoriates the social and religious authorities that impede her union, but she remains emotionally unconvinced that she has correctly identified her antagonists.

' (Pollack, 182) Dickinson begins her poem by saying that she cannot live with her lover because their life together is an object that can only be opened with a key. The Sexton, or church officer in charge of the maintenance of church property, keeps the key. The reverend's involvement with God and with a woman at the same time is like a porcelain cup that is easily broken. This is an example of Personification.

Life is personified as this old cup which is valuable until a new, better one is available. Sensory images are used to develop an interest for the reader and a way of showing what the author felt. An example is in the fifth stanza, "And see You? freeze? The sense of touch is used when she says that one who is dead is frozen. It tells the reader that the author knows that death isn? t a pleasant experience. The narrator exclaims that she cannot die with her lover either.

It is possible that she doesn? t want to see him suffer in the "frost', or maybe she wants him to shut her eyes when she has passed and mourn for her. She says that death's privilege is not having to witness someone you love die since you are already in the afterlife. It is ironic that she falls in love with someone whose faith is so strong when she herself changes her mind frequently about her beliefs. His piety contrasts with her disbelief. However, She contradicts her usual disbelief in God by saying that she could not rise with her lover if he will be punished by Jesus for his actions.

She tends to believe in the promise of Christian salvation. The narrator mentions that this man is now her paradise and what she saw previously only sordid excellence. She doesn? t want to give up on the relationship and fears that because he serves heaven that she might be condemned and he saved. She could be saved and he condemned.

Either way it would be hell to her if they were apart. At the conclusion, she compares their separation to a door. It is slightly open, enough that there is a possibility they can overcome their differences. The two lovers are such opposites that they "meet apart? With just the Door ajar'.

Then, she says that they are separated by the Oceans. Again, there is a possibility that they can be together if they cross the water barrier. Their only hope is through prayer that they will someday meet again in Heaven. An end rhyme is used in some stanzas to make the rhythm flow more smoothly.

An example is in the first stanza with the second and fourth lines. Life and Shelf rhyme because they end in the same sound. Up and Cup rhyme in the second stanza, Broke and Crack in the third, Face and Grace in the sixth, Eye and by in the seventh, Eyes and Paradise in the ninth, Name and fame in the tenth, be and Me in the eleventh, apart and ajar in the last, and here, Prayer, and Despair in the last. Dickinson repeats the phrase or idea of "I cannot? with You' or "I could not? with You'. Each time she uses the statement, it is the beginning of a major resolution. One instance of alliteration used is in the ninth stanza with the words "saturated Sight' and a constant "s's o und.

Assonance is also apparent in the eighth stanza with "How' and "know' because it is a partial rhyme made by vowel sounds. Each stanza contains four lines except for the last one which has six. This is because it is the conclusion of her thoughts where she states that she will live in despair and depression. The stanza form did not help to develop the meaning.

To correctly read and comprehend the poem, one must read it straight through without pauses, ignoring the numerous dashes. In conclusion, the mood of the poem is one of hopelessness, desperation, and discouragement. Emily Dickinson is in a state of depression, and is probably at the beginning of her mental breakdown stage. It took her many years to overcome the emptiness she felt without her lover.

Works Cited Pollak, Vivian R. Dickinson? The Anxiety of Gender. Ithaca, New York: Cornwell University Press, 1984. Johnson, Thomas H. The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1983. Pain has an element of blank Although cryptic in language and structure, Dickinson gives her work an instinctual ly vivid sense of emotion.

Her examination of the feeling of pain focuses in on only a few of the subtler nuances of pain that are integral parts of the experience. She draws in on an "Element of Blank' that she introduces in her opening line. In exploring pain, she proposes that this "blankness' is a self-propagating force that is subject to the dynamic forces of time, history and perception, but only to an extent. Her first mention of "Pain' in the first line does not distinguish this particular emotion as being of a particular brand of pain. She substitutes no other words for "pain. ' By suggesting no other words for "pain,' she chooses the most semantically encompassing term for the emotion.

She thus gives her work the responsibility of examining the collective, general breadth of "pain. ' Her alternatives offer connotations that color her usage of "Pain': the sense of loss in "grief' and "mourning' or the sense of pity in "anguish' and "suffering. ' She chooses the lexical vagueness of "Pain' to embrace all these facets of the emotion. In introducing the "Element of Blank,' it becomes the context that she thus examines pain. The exact context of "Blank' possesses a vagueness that suggests its own inadequacy of solid definition. Perhaps this sense of in definition is the impression that this usage of "Blank' is meant to inspire.

In this context, this "blankness' is suggestive of a quality of empty unknowing ness that is supported by the next few lines: "It cannot recollect When it begun. ' This inability to remember raises a major problem with respect to the nature of "Pain;' namely whether Dickinson is choosing to personify "Pain' by giving it a human quality like memory, or is in fact negating the humanity of making it unable to remember. Several lines below, she suggests that "Pain' does in fact possess some sort of limited sentient ability in recognizing "Its Past – enlightened to perceive. ' It is very possible that it is the "Pain' that is being enlightened or perceiving. These conscious acts of giving "Pain's ome sort of capacity of awareness personify "Pain' to some extent. In continuation of "Pain's' inability to remember, She proceeds, "It cannot recollect When it begun – or if there were A time when it was not.

' "Pain's' inability to recollect further personifies it by also making it subject to the human ability to forget. Dickinson thus not only personifies "Pain,' but makes it subject to the advance of time. This temporal placement of "Pain', establishes "Pain' within the context of the progression of time by giving it a Past, a Future, and presumably, a Present. Although she places "Pain' within the context of time, she indicates it is not limited by time.

"Pain's' inability to remember its own origins strongly suggests an extreme span of time since its inception. This coupled with Dickinson's claim that "It has no Future – but itself,' and that "Its Infinite contain Its Past' indicates some connection with the eternal. Here, the "Infinite's uggests not only the infinite sense of eternity, but a more spatial sense of the cosmos and the universality of the experience of "Pain. ' This use of the future also serves the notion that "Pain' leads to more "Pain,' continuing in Dickinson's reference to "Its Past – enlightened to perceive New Periods – of Pain. ' In this one stanza, she invokes the future and the past, maintaining that both are key to a cyclicality, where the "Pain' of the past, gives rise to the "Pain' of the present and future. That "Pain' contains an "Infinite' within itself supports this notion of "Pain' being cyclical, as it can thus remain dynamic yet eternal.

That it is "enlightened to perceive New Periods' of the sensation of "Pain's uggests that a mechanism of this self-propagation involves the acknowledgement of past periods of "Pain. ' The "enlightenment' thus becomes some sort of impetus for the propagation of the "Pain' experience as it continues from the past into the future. To highlight this sense of cyclicality, Dickinson completes the poem with the first word: "Pain. ' She completes the cycle of her poem in its reiteration, giving it closure, but at the same time, reconnecting it back to its beginning. In doing so, she almost invites the reader to reread the poem, drawing the reader back in to reconsider her meaning. In much the same way, it is this reexamination that "Its Past – enlightened's uggests.

Enlightenment comes from some degree of analysis, and is therefore related to the reevaluation of the poem that Dickinson invites. Dickinson's description of "Pain' as having an "Infinite' also suggests a spatial expansiveness in addition to a temporal one. This sense of "Pain' being limitless echoes the broad definition of "Pain' that she suggests by only using the one term for the experience, and using it only twice. Within the context of the poem, "Pain' is her only subject, and thus encompasses all as far as the work is concerned.

The limitlessness of "Pain's' existence within time lends to its sense of overwhelming size when considered "Infinite. ' It thus suggests an almost tangible existence of "Pain' as a corporeal entity, spanning towards every horizon. This physical perception of "Pain' is not quite palpable due to its lack of physical description in the poem. All that is known about it is its outstanding size.

That sense of size alone lends some sort of semi-perceptible physical weight to the description. In her sole focus on "Pain' within the context of the "Element of Blank,' Dickinson chooses such a narrow focus that it is difficult to claim she is putting forth a definitive, encompassing definition of pain. Instead, she writes about a vague, undefined experience called "Pain' that she leaves the reader to define. Note that a semantic distinction must be made between pain and the notion of "Pain' that Dickinson chooses to use. She does not define whether her notion of pain is emotional, spiritual or physical, or perhaps a combination of all three. Her treatment of "Pain' as a semi-cognizant entity, infinite but somehow limited, makes it an abstract, unique concept that necessitates its distinction as "Pain.

' She does describe "Pain' within the context of the nature of its being. By denoting its infinite nature, she also proposes a capacity to self-propagate. However, she becomes unclear in defining the limitations of these abilities. She explains that it has existed for so long, that it has no memory of its inception, but it is unclear whether that is the fault of "Pain's' inability to remember or "Pain's' infinite history. Dickinson also indicates that "Pain' already has a fated future, one that includes only more "Pain. ' Despite its infinite nature temporally and spatially, "Pain' is not infinite in a sentient sense, as it is limited by its lack of perception and by the passage of time.

Dickinson leaves much unsaid about the experience and nature of "Pain. ' She makes no tangible references about the circumstances of her "Pain,' leaving the reader to deal only with a indeterminate, abstract notion to relate to. In only relating the "Element of Blank' to its place temporally and spatially, her only hypothesis about the mechanism of "Pain' concerns its cyclicality. Her sole focus on this structure avoids discussion of any other aspect of the experience or sensation of "Pain. ' It Was Not Death, for I Stood Up In the poem by Emily Dickinson "It Was Not Death, for I Stood Up,' the main character has just lost a loved one and feels such devastation that cannot be put into words, but could only be described as "not's something. She feels such loss at her loved one's burial, that his "burial reminded [her] of [hers]'.

He has been a huge part of her life, so when he dies, that part of her dies also, and is buried with him. She cannot put the feeling of devastation into words, for if pain can be described, it has a mortal limit and is bearable. The pain of the character in this poem is beyond that. In philosophy, one cannot describe chaos or God using affirmative words; one has to say "chaos is not, God is not. ' Likewise in the poem, Emily Dickinson uses negations rather than affirmative statements to describe her anguish as an intangible entity.

She does not even use a word such as "agony', or "grief' anywhere in the poem in order to emphasize that her feeling cannot be condensed into a simple word. Instead, she describes the chaos she feels by using negations of opposing forces, "it was not fire it was not heat', and then saying that she feels them all at once. Emily Dickinson uses imagery to make the shock she feels more vivid to the reader. Her life "was fitted on a frame and [she] could not breathe without a key.

' This metaphor reminds the reader of the stifling feeling in the throat and gasping for air, when one sobs violently but tears don't come. She does not have the "key'. She cannot help herself because she has lost everything, the "key' must come from somewhere else. "And 'twas like midnight some when everything that ticked has stopped and space stares all around. ' This is like the first feeling of shock, when the conception of time and space is completely different. The feeling of shock is like hanging in the middle of space, outside of measured time.

What the character feels can be best described as "utter nothing', or "Chaos without chance or spar. ' It always makes one feel better when he can change something or turn the feeling of nothing into something else. But here she cannot even feel anger because in death there is no one to feel the anger against. She is without "even a report of land to justify despair.

' The character does not even feel hopeless because she has forgotten what hope – "land' -feels like. The feeling of the character is so overwhelming, unbearable, and intangible that it cannot be described in words, and can only be expressed through negations of emotions and powerful imagery. 339.