Poem 303, or “The Soul selects her own Society,” is a strong poem written by Emily Dickinson. Dickinson creates a strong, unmoving voice belonging to “the Soul” who is supposedly choosing her companionships, but there are small nuances that may cause one to read the poem in various ways. The poem may be read with a tone that is godly and/or royal. It may also be read as the Soul having a choice on her companionships or the ruse of having a choice.
Firstly, one must attempt to summarize or describe the essence of the poem to argue for it. The use of metonymy, the “Soul”, represents the person about whom the poem is about. This person is choosing her companionship or “Society” and does it strictly and carefully. The Soul places herself above royalty and above things heavenly since she continuously does not move to their attempts at companionship with her. The nuance and importance of this poem is whether she truly has the power to choose her “Society” or not. Throughout the poem it seems to suggest and hint toward her inability to choose. With a quick, outer reading of the poem, it seems that she has the power and control,but when digging deeper and exploring her meticulous use of diction, simile/metaphor, short meter, and use of slant rhymes, it seems to suggest differently. Through careful analysis of those devices one may decide to read the tone of voice as a powerful or as helpless.
It is of utmost importance to note what type of diction Dickinson has selected, especially because the diction lends itself to the metaphors and similes used. There are two sides to her diction. One side may be described as heavenly, with words such as “Soul,” “divine,” and “gate.”...
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...ly veiled insistence under the initial reading, one where the “Soul” is actually crying for help. It could be that she wants to believe that she has the power but perhaps an opposing force, perhaps a mental illness or a person is influencing her too much regarding her ability to choose. Regardless of whether the Soul is powerful or helpless – although the latter seems to be argued when the poem is analyzed – it is a strong voice nonetheless. The unmovingness, the authority, and superiority of an emperor kneeling, and shutting out the “divine Majority” before her inevitably places her upon a pedestal. The tone many times sounds romantic and yet condescending especially on an initial reading, then sounds pressing and helpless through further analysis. The subtle nuances used via her literary tropes suggests an anxious, internal argument occurring throughout the poem.
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