Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

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Poetry Research Paper

No matter how bad things may seem, there is always hope for things to ameliorate. When people believe that the future will be promising, they can have something to look forward to as opposed to dwelling on the past or the problems of the present. This hope can give a person a positive outlook on life and motivate him or her to look past what is happening in the present. In the poems “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson and “The Darkling Thrush” by Thomas Hardy, they both convey similar messages about hope. Both works display the theme of hope being present at all times no matter how bad things may seem and is a consistent option for anyone in need of help.

In “Hope is the Thing with Feathers,” the message delivered is that hope is present to any person. Dickinson writes, “And sweetest in the gale is heard,” (5) which displays an image of a bird’s song being heard above the sounds of the storm. This shows how even in the worst situations one can look forward to the future where all this persons problems are resolved. Hope is the most beneficial when it is needed most. Therefore, it is available to anyone no matter who they are or how they live. In this poem, the speaker says, “yet, never, in extremity, / it asked a crumb of me” (11-12). If a person hopes for something, he or she doesn’t need to offer anything in return for what hope has given them. By using a crumb as an example of how hope comes without any pay, it is shown that “hope” does not need even the smallest possible reward for the good that it brings. It is a feeling and therefor, appeals to everyone.

By using a bird as a symbol for hope, Dickinson conveys the message that hope is continuous in a way that is easily understood b...

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...ks Cited

"Emily Dickinson Poem Analysis." Essortment. Demand Media Network, 2011. Web. 5 April. 2014. .

Rumens, Carol. "Poem of the Week: The Darkling Thrush, by Thomas Hardy." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 28 Dec. 2009. Web. 5 April. 2014. .

"The Darkling Thrush Symbolism, Imagery & Wordplay." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc. Web. 5 April. 2014. .

Vendler, Helen. Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2010. 118-20. Google Books. Google. Web. 5 April. 2014. .
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