A Narrow Fellow in the Grass by Emily Dickinson

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A Narrow Fellow in the Grass by Emily Dickinson

The poem, “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass,” by Emily Dickinson is a collaboration of fear and intrigue. The poem is presented through a young boy as he makes his way through cool and damp grassland during the afternoon. The issue the young boy must deal with is the unwelcome encounter with a snake. From the first glimpse of the slithering snake the tone of the poem is set: an uneasiness mood followed by persistent fear. The combination of external conflict and dexterous imagery create the atmosphere of this poem.

A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

Occasionally rides —

You may have met Him – did you not

His notice sudden is

The Grass divides as with a Comb

A spotted shaft is seen –

And then it closes at your feet

And opens further on –

He likes a Boggy Acre

A Floor too cool for corn –

Yet when a Boy, and Barefoot –

I more than once at Noon

Have passed, I thought, a Whip lash

Unbraiding in the Sun

When stooping to secure it

It wrinkled, and was gone –

Several of Nature’s People

I know, and they know me –

I feel for them a transport

Of cordiality –

But never met this Fellow

Attended, or alone

Without tighter breathing

And Zero at the Bone –

The young boy in the poem is faced with the external conflict of his fear of snakes. This conflict never seems to be resolved by the end of the poem, and it is highly unlikely that it will ever be resolved in the future. As it is presented in the last two stanzas that the boy is never comfortable with snakes no matter whom he may be with, protection or not. He will continue to be fear stricken when faced with snakes under any circumstance. Although this is n...

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...tracking through the tall grass. Then the sense of the hot sun beating down upon the grass is felt when the author says, “…a whip lash unbraiding in the sun.” The next imagery described is the sense of touch and the impression it gives to the reader. As described before, the idea of the grass closing around the boy’s feet and how it feels as the snake slithers by. The next time that we read about touch is when the by stoops down to pick up the rope. Unaware that what he has just grabbed is the wrinkled snake, here he unknowingly confronts one of his greatest fears.

The imagery that Emily Dickinson uses to create the mood of the poem in collaboration with the unresolved external conflict of snakes builds the foundation for an enjoyable poem. One, that most readers can relate to, as well as develop the picture of atmosphere and location in their minds.

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