Essay PreviewMore ↓
Suicide was not a widely discussed topic in the 1800's although, it commonly appeared as a theme in many literary works of that time. The action of killing one's self is not a classified psychological disorder, but there are many disorders where suicide is the end result. This is why suicide is a commonplace subject within the psychological field in present day society. The poem "I Started Early- Took My Dog," by Emily Dickinson, can be interpreted as making strange reference to a suicide. Freud says, "Suicide is a response to loss (real or symbolic), but one in which the person's sorrow and rage in the face of that loss are not vented but remain unconscious, thus weakening the ego."(Freud p.246). Dickinson uses several elements in her poem to relate this theme such as tone, imagery and rhyme. It is told through the first person point of view of an unknown speaker.
Dickinson begins the first line of her poem by writing in iambic tetrameter. In the second line she switches to iambic trimeter and proceeds to alternate between the two. This rhyme scheme proves to be particularly effective in complimenting the subject of the poem-- the ocean. When a reader looks at the poem it is easy to see the lines lengthening then shortening, almost in the same fashion that the tide of the ocean flows and ebbs.
I started Early- Took my Dog
And visited the sea-
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me. (Dickinson 1-4)
The waxing and waning action of the text might symbolize the constant cycles of life. The fact that the text recedes then elongates in rhythm make the reader think the speaker of the poem is not sure what steps to take in their life. The speaker might not have convinced him or herself about the suicide attempt. Many suicidal thoughts are stopped short of action and then thought about later. Dickinson writes in this style to show the opposing forces of every situation. Suicide would likely be the most contemplated decision the narrator has ever had to make.
Through metaphors, the speaker proclaims of her longing to be one with the sea. As she notices The mermaids in the basement,(3) and frigates- in the upper floor,(5) it seems as though she is associating these particular daydreams with her house. She becomes entranced with these spectacles and starts to contemplate suicide.
How to Cite this Page
"Started Early - Took My Dog, by Emily Dickinson." 123HelpMe.com. 15 Jul 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- There are several important and interesting authors in the American Literature history to talk about in this paper. However, Emily Elizabeth Dickinson is one of the most fascinating authors that generates admiration by reading her life and poems. Even tough her poems were not completed and written on scraps of paper, she is considered one of the great geniuses of nineteenth-century American poetry. The main reason of this reputation is based on the fact that her poems are innovative. Her poetry is different because she uses different literacy aspects from her contemporary writers.... [tags: Emily Dickinson Essays]
1020 words (2.9 pages)
- ... It is thought that Dickinson may have been engaged to Gould in the 1850’s. Some drafted letters written to “Master” by Dickinson have been found and they describe a passionate but changing relationship between her and the recipient. It is not known who these letters were supposed to be sent to. Later in Dickinson’s life, it seems that she had a romantic relationship with Judge Otis Phillips, who was a close friend of Edward Dickinson, Emily’s father. Lord and his wife Elizabeth visited the Dickinson’s household often, and it wasn’t until his wife’s death did Lord pursue a relationship with Dickinson.... [tags: notorious American poets]
1064 words (3 pages)
- EMILY DICKINSON Emily Dickinson lived in an era of Naturalism and Realism (1855-1910). She lived in a period of The Civil War and the Frontier. She was affected by her life and the era she lived in. She also had many deaths in her family and that’s part of the reason that she was very morbid and wrote about death. Emily Dickinson grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts in the nineteenth century. As a child she was brought up into the Puritan way of life. She was born on December 10, 1830 and died fifty-six years later.... [tags: essays research papers]
1559 words (4.5 pages)
- Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in the community of Amherst, Massachusetts. She was the second daughter of Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson. Emily, her brother Austin, and her sister Lavinia were brought up and nurtured in a quiet reserved household headed by their father Edward. Throughout her life, her mother was not always around, or "accessible," a fact that is said to have caused Emily’s eccentricity. They were raised in Puritanical Massachusetts, where they were expected to take on their fathers beliefs and values.... [tags: Papers]
1249 words (3.6 pages)
- ... “Carriage” is a capitalized noun which has a big meaning for Dickinson. With capitalizing “Ourselves” she means the relationship between death and her. She wants us to believe and know that something serious is going to happen between death and her. The last interesting word in this stanza is “Immortality”. It is a hint that Dickinson is not talking about death at the end, but it can be an example for life after death. The next stanza starts with “We slowly drove, he knew no haste”. It represents that they have all the time they want and that they use it properly.... [tags: immortality, characterization, cold]
822 words (2.3 pages)
- ... In Emily Dickinson’s poem “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I died” the poem seems to revolve about death. After reading the poem countless times many different meanings come to mind, but one seems particularly clear: Emily Dickinson is writing about how death can feel, how it happens, and what can be expected from it. The first line of the poem starts off with “I Heard a Fly Buzz-When I Died”, where Emily is starting to picture the idea of death. She sees people dying around her and she wants to feel what they are feeling, more specifically the feeling of death and life carrying on around you.... [tags: death, war, poem ]
599 words (1.7 pages)
- Introduction Almost unknown as a poet in her lifetime, Emily Dickinson is now considered as one of the most mysterious and original American poets of 19th century for her innovation in rhythmic meters and creative use of metaphors. Her poems were rarely published in Russia because most of them had religious content (to express religious feelings was restricted in Russia for almost a century). However, some poems that I read impressed me at the first glance. Dickinson’s poems spoke powerfully to me about meaningful events in living.... [tags: Emily Dickinson Poetry]
3097 words (8.8 pages)
- Emily Dickinson is one of the most interesting female poets of the nineteenth century. Every author has unique characteristics about him/her that make one poet different from another, but what cause Emily Dickinson to be so unique are not only the words she writes, but how she writes them. Her style of writing is in a category of its own. To understand how and why she writes the way she does, her background has to be brought into perspective. Every poet has inspiration, negative or positive, that contributes not only to the content of the writing itself, but the actual form of writing the author uses to express his/her personal talents.... [tags: Emily Dickinson]
2099 words (6 pages)
- Romanticism, Realism and Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson wrote at the tail end of the Romantic period, and even though she was influenced by some of the ideals of Romanticism, is most commonly known as a writer from the Realist era. However, her writing embodies the defining characteristics that are identified with each of these periods. The main characteristic of Romanticism that Emily Dickinson portrays in her writing is the emphases of the importance of Nature to the Romantics. In most of her poems there is some mention or comparison to something found in Nature.... [tags: Romanticism Realism Emily Dickinson]
420 words (1.2 pages)
- Emily Dickinson Breaking news revealing the truth about Emily Dickinson’s life has recently been uncovered. For the past hundred-plus years literary historians believed Dickinson to be a plain and quiet type of person who did not communicate with the public for most of her life. Her romanticism poetry drew attention from fellow literary legends. After corresponding with the well-known Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who showed interest in her work but advised her not to publish it, she became defiant to publish any of her work.... [tags: Author Biography Emily Dickinson Essays]
1012 words (2.9 pages)
The speaker appears to have abandoned all thoughts of suicide. Her focus is now turned to the tide that made as he would eat [her] up,(13) as she seeks to find sanctuary on dry land. The poem takes a suspenseful twist as the speaker describes the ocean closing in on her.Suicide would likely be the most contemplated decision the narrator has ever had to make. This would describe her feeling of being suffocated by the sea. Dickinson's use of imagery is especially prevalent in the fifth stanza, when she uses words such as silver heel(18) and pearl(20), to describe a foamy surf.
The speaker uses a reflective and whimsical tone in recounting her experience. This is a crucial factor in gaining the reader's interest. It helps set the mood and it clearly expresses the speaker's frame of mind. The tone, like the rhyme scheme, seems to lend itself leisurely thoughts of the ocean. With an 'a-b-c-b' rhyme scheme the reader , again, feels the constant push and pull of the tides on the beat of the poem. The author uses a "sing-song" rhyme scheme in this poem for many reasons. One of these reasons seems to emphasize the yin and yang of life. Another reason for the rhyme is to comply with the tidal flow of the alternating line meter. The 'ups and downs' of this poem best describe the indecisiveness of a depressed individual.
Psychologically speaking, the narrator of the poem is experiencing clinical depression. Freud says that, "depression was not a symptom of organic dysfunction but a massive defense mounted by the ego against intrapsychic conflict."(Freud p.255). This means suicide, a most considered option of 'relief' of depression would be the only mentally cleansing decision. Many times the pain of depresion seems far worse than taking your own life; that is why many people try. Suicide would likely be the most contemplated decision the narrator has ever had to make. The theme and symbols of any given work are usually left to the interpretation and imagination of the reader. In order to fully appreciate and understand poetry, these elements must be identified. The symbols in Dickinson's poem are so obscure, it is left to the individual to elicit what they can.