After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes--

  • Length: 552 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Elements of despair evident from the inner workings of Emily Dickinson are present in her poem, “After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes--.” Emily Dickinson led a difficult life which left her alone. These feelings of sorrow and isolation have produced works by Dickinson which question human existence and thought. Such works include the theme of despair which is inextricably related to spiritual strivings and misgivings. They lead inevitably to her thematic concern with man’s knowledge of death and his dream of immortality, directly relevant to “After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes--.”In this poem, Emily Dickinson renders the extinction of consciousness by pain in terms of a funeral. By paraphrasing the first stanza,After great pain, a formal feeling comes--The Nerves sits ceremonious, like Tombs--The stiff Heart, questions was it He, that bore,And Yesterday, or Centuries before?The reader perceives the first of three stages of a funeral ceremony, the formal service. After the onset of suffering through death, the presence of finality through a funeral rises.

The second stanza brings with it the second stage of the ceremony, carrying off the casket by pallbearers.The Feet, mechanical, go round--A wooden wayOf Ground, or Air, or Ought--Regardless grown,A Quartz contentment, like a stone--The feet of the pallbearers work rhythmically and mechanically, performing their duty. The final stanza includes the final stage of a funeral,the burial.This is the Hour of Lead--Remembered, if outlived,As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow--First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go-- The reader notes that this is the time of finality, and of parting with the deceased. It is also a time of final recollections, and of healing.In an interpretation of this poem, Dickinson is neither speaking of the persona, or the funeral ritual, but instead of the state of mind at death. This perception includes the premise of one who has lost all sense of identity.

The various parts of the anatomy noted in the poem, such as the nerves, heart, and feet, are no longer part of one central being,but now moving through the acts of a meaningless ceremony. In essence, they are lifeless forms enacted in a trance. As the idea of a funeral ceremony subsides, the once living body’s form emerges. The “formal feeling” that comes after a great pain is actually no pain at all, but instead the loss of form, time, and space.

Throughout “After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes--”, Dickinson uses many forms of connotation, such as imagery, symbolism, and irony.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes--." 24 May 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Analysis of After Great Pain A Formal Feeling Comes by Emily Dickinson Essay - In After great pain, a formal feeling comes(341), Emily Dickinson offers the reader a transitus observation of the time just after the death of a loved one. Dickinson questions where one goes in the afterlife asking, 'Of Ground, or Air' or somewhere else (line 6)' We often remember those who die before us, as we ourselves, as morbid as it may be, with everyday, are brought closer to our own deaths. As used in most of her poetry, she continues in iambic meter with stressed then unstressed syllables....   [tags: essays research papers] 474 words
(1.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The effects of pain on the mind and body - The Effects of Pain on the Mind and Body Elements of pain and despair are evident in many works of Emily Dickinson, and are present in her poem, "After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes-." Dickinson's simple language draws rich meaning from the use of common words. She uses words associated with the body, with nature, with the mind, as well with physical death, to shape and articulate its sensation and significance. She approached her poetry inductively, combining words to arrive at a conclusion that the pattern of the words suggested....   [tags: essays research papers] 790 words
(2.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Euthanasia: When the Pain of Dying Exceeds the Pleasure of Living - The way we die is not always going to be easy. Life chooses to end when the body simple cannot complete the operation of functioning. The ending to life is always the same, whether that is from a horrible accident or parts of the body not being able to perform the tasks it is designed to do, the body dies. Sometimes the body does not turn itself off all at once when death comes and in some cases the body dies slowly and painfully. The thought of a slow and painful death can cause one to think about the alternatives to this type of ending when the time comes or if a tragedy happens to cause the body to quit functioning....   [tags: argumentative essays] 2242 words
(6.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
When It Comes to Feeling Like a Stranger... Essay - Should immigrant parents Americanize their children. Should they prioritize adapting to the environment over their own cultural heritage. I don't think they should, and I don't think they have to. I can tell from my own experience that parents actually have much less influence on deciding how a child grows up than it would seem. But that is not to say that they have no role at all. As the perceived root of their children's culture they do play an important part. Personally, if I ever had questions about our customs, religion, or where I came from the people to ask were my mother or my grandmother....   [tags: Culture ]
:: 2 Works Cited
946 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
With Happiness Comes Pain in Lois Lowry's The Giver Essay - ... Jonas has to escape the community, to elsewhere, in order to be happy. Symbolism also plays a big role in the theme that one cannot have happiness without pain. The author uses symbolism to show what some of the objects mean. An example that brings out the literary element symbolism is the sled. In the book the sled symbolizes escape from the community to elsewhere. Another example of symbolism is the speaker. The speaker represents authority and power. In the book the people of the community always obeyed the speaker....   [tags: foreshadowing, symbolism, imagery]
:: 4 Works Cited
553 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Role of Pain Management and Intervention Essays - It all can begin with a long stressful day at work, lifting something heavy or even just getting up from your seat. It comes to you as your enemy. It attacks you until it’s controlled or eliminated. Some people live with it as something normal and some can’t live with it causing them death. It’s different in every way and in every person. Some people ignore it causing it to get out of control. Acute Pain may come suddenly and can be treated, but chronic pain makes your life miserable specially when uncontrolled (Cox, 2010)....   [tags: chronic pain, back pain, acute pain]
:: 3 Works Cited
1020 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Pain - Merely A Response To A Painful Stimulus? Essay - Critically evaluate the view that pain is merely a response to a painful stimulus.   Pain Essay: unit 3 There are various definitions of pain. The most commonly agreed upon seems to be “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience arising from actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage” The most appropriate definition of pain within clinical practice was suggested by Margo McCaffrey in (1968). His definition was ‘whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever he says it does’ Pain is an abhorrent feeling that is transported to the brain by sensory neurons....   [tags: Pain]
:: 21 Works Cited
2061 words
(5.9 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Death Comes for the Archbishop Essay - Death Comes for the Archbishop: A Narrative or a Novel. Is it a narrative or a novel. Few questions have caused me this much trouble. It became apparent to me that Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop would not be an easy piece of literature to classify. Within just a few pages, it became apparent that this piece of literature is more than either category will allow. While reading the pages of this story I get the feeling that I am not reading a novel, rather it is a series of short stories....   [tags: Death Comes for the Archbishop] 710 words
(2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop Essay - Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop: Novel and Narrative I found these definitions at an online guide to free online dictionaries: Main Entry: nar·ra·tive Pronunciation: 'nar-&-tiv Function: noun Date: 1566 1 : something that is narrated : STORY 2 : the art or practice of narration 3 : the representation in art of an event or story; also : an example of such a representation - narrative adjective - nar·ra·tive·ly adverb Main Entry: novel Function: noun Etymology: Italian novella Date: 1639 1 : an invented prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals especially with human experience through a usually connected sequence of events 2 : the literary genre consist...   [tags: Willa Cather Death Comes for the Archbishop] 580 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Pain Essay - Pain He looks through the scope of his rifle, concentrating, looking. He feels pain, sorrow. A tear streams down his face and thinks to himself that this has to happen. He feels rage rush through him, that feeling that he gets when he forgets to take his medication. Josh is only fifteen. His father bought him this hunting rifle when he was twelve. He would remember those times when his father was drunk and would beat him mercilessly for hours on end. Such rage streams through in a steady flow. He doesn’t know why he is doing this, he can’t think, all he knows is the feeling in his head....   [tags: social issues] 813 words
(2.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches

For instance, Dickinson presents a vivid image of the funeral service occurring. The mechanical movements of pallbearers are vividly portrayed by her use of resplendent language. Under the same accord, the line, “This is the Hour of Lead--” brings images of ultimate finality and closure to the reader by portraying the burial. Symbolism is also evident in that Dickinson states, “A Quartz contentment, like a stone--”, is actually referring to the serenity that follows great suffering. Irony is exhibited in the “formal feeling,” which is not pain but the loss of existence. In summation, it is through the thematic depiction of despair in “After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes--” that Dickinson manifests the state of mind at a loss of presence. Through her use of vivid, straightforward language, Dickinson captured my attention, and effectively displayed the suffering and despondency when you leave the earth.

Return to