The average reader cannot help but be affected by Dickinson’s style. The capitalized words draw the reader’s attention. They highlight important key words of the poem. The dashes set apart specific words and phrases, forcing the reader to slow down while reading. The dashes compel the reader to contemplate and ponder over the lines. Thus, whether or not Dickinson had a conscious purpose in her unconventional capitalization and punctuation, they have an undeniable effect on the rhythm of the poem and the perception of the reader.
Dickinson’s capitalization is highly unconventional. She capitalizes words in the middle of the line. Here are the first four lines from “There’s a certain Slant of light” which illustrate Dickinson’s capitalization style:
There’s a certain Slant of light,
... middle of paper ...
...kinson likens herself to a loaded gun. She contains much energy and power, but can only be useful when taken into the hands of a master gunman. The punctuation and capitalization define “a Loaded Gun” as the theme of the poem. They also increase the strength of the metaphor. Dickinson’s capitalization and punctuation not only define her style, but they also provide added symbolic meaning and musical interpretation to her poetry.
Denman, Kamilla. "Emily Dickinson's Volcanic Punctuation." The Emily Dickinson Journal 2.1 (1993): 22-46. Print.
Miller, Cristanne. Emily Dickinson: A Poet’s Grammar. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987. Print.
Porter, David T. The Art of Emily Dickinson’s Early Poetry. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966. Print.
Weisbuch, Robert. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1975. Print.
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