The first Stanza of Dickinson's poem says “After great pain, a feeling comes-” This means the overall feeling of death of a loved one is almost indescribable. A feeling that is upon one where they are almost in a n unresponsive state. Death or life isn't mentioned in this first stanza but, as the poem continues one can infer that Dickinson is talking about life. “great pain” describes the feeling when one looses a loved one. Dickinson also writes about a “formal feeling” or the feeling after the death that one feels for the rest of their lives, like being incomplete. Dickinson continues and writes “The Nerves sit ceremonious like Tombs-” This means the behavior one might practice at a funeral which would relate to “Nerves” sitting ceremoniously. At a funeral there's not much movement, ones is overcome with sadness and the nerves are still like tombs. The third line states that the Heart, which is capitalized is “Stiff” and that it is...
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...ptance of it.
In conclusion, Emily Dickinson's 341st poem includes the themes of life versus death and nature versus man. This poem was the explanation of the feelings one feels at the death of loved ones throughout the three stanzas. Dickinson urges readers not to be caught up in the superficiality of society's attitude and come to terms with the death of others and oneself.
English 3 Honors
December 1 2013
Gelpi, Albert. "AFTER GREAT PAIN: The Inner Life Of Emily Dickinson (Book)." American Literature 44.1 (1972): 157. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.
The Undiscovered Continent: Emily Dickinson and the Space of the Mind. (Indiana University Press, 1983.) Copyright © 1983 by Suzanne Juhasz.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Dickinson’s Poetry.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.
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