Essay on My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun by Emily Dickinson

Essay on My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun by Emily Dickinson

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My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun by Emily Dickinson


Today, few would deny that Emily Dickinson is an important figure in American literature. The numerous ways to interpret her poetry draws more and more readers into her publications. It's as if everyone could interpret Dickinson's poems into his or her personal life; seeing the poems the way they want to see it. This is the effect "flexible" poems have on people.

In Dickinson's "My Life Had Stood—A Loaded Gun", I interpreted the poem literally, thinking the poem was really about a gun and the relationship with its owner. But as I read the poem more and more, I felt the power and rage engulfed into this piece. I also gathered that, like most of Dickinson's poetry, there is a common denominator of her personal life and views into each of her pieces pf poetry. And the poem may very well supposed to be about a gun, but I interpreted it in a way that factored her into it.

I also read a little about Emily Dickinson and her life as a poet. And when I read about certain parts of her life and feelings, the poem seemed to "click" with her personal feelings about her life with poetry, like there was a sort of connection. She felt forced to practice her art privately, that is, she wrote her poetry privately and shared it with only a few family members and friends. To be able to dedicate herself to poetry, she withdrew into seclusion. It was a heavy price to pay to be a poet. This poem, with its "Vesuvian" voice, expresses her rage at the restrictions on the woman poet, her sense of the power of language, and the sense of control that writing poetry gave her.

This poem seems very powerful and full of rage. The speaker compares her life to an unused loaded gun...


... middle of paper ...


...sense that she is strong with her words and intelligence and can harm someone intellectually.
The speaker's purpose, power, and control are destructive and bring her the joy and satisfaction. But she also fears the thought of living without her "master", and she wants him to outlive her, "Though I than He—may longer live/ He longer must—than I". And maybe when she says "For I have but the power to kill/Without—the power to die", I think she's implying the phrase "words can kill", applying to the lines previous, like her being the deadly foe. And she will live forever through her poetry, so she cannot die in a sense that she will be forgotten. Her written thoughts, words, feelings, and emotions as a poet will live forever in the minds of her audience. She does not have the power to die as long as her written work is out in the minds of others.

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