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A Short Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s ‘The Brain is wider than the Sky’

A close reading of a classic Dickinson poem

‘The brain is wider than the sky’: the mind and all that it can take in – and imagine – is far greater than even the vast sky above us. This is the starting point of one of Emily Dickinson’s great meditations on the power of human imagination and comprehension. Before we attempt an analysis, though, here’s a reminder of the poem.

The Brain — is wider than the Sky —
For — put them side by side —
The one the other will contain
With ease — and You — beside —

The Brain is deeper than the sea —
For — hold them — Blue to Blue —
The one the other will absorb —
As Sponges — Buckets — do — Read the rest of this entry


A Short Summary of Arthur Miller’s ‘Tragedy and the Common Man’

An analysis of Miller’s great defence of a new kind of theatre

As we mention in our collection of interesting facts about Arthur Miller (1915-2005), the noted US playwright’s family had been relatively prosperous, but during the Great Depression of the 1930s, as with many other families, their economic situation became very precarious. This experience had a profound impact on Miller’s political standpoint, and this can be seen time and time again in his work for the theatre. He aligned himself with the leftist politics of the 1930s, namely socialism. His early successes as a playwright were in the genre of social drama. That is, a social problem or issue in contemporary society is explored on stage. More specifically, the dramatic conflict arises usually from a moral dilemma faced by the individual that is related to some kind of flaw or corruption in the social order.

Death of a Salesman (1949), his most famous play, bears some Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Walt Whitman’s ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’

A summary of a short Whitman poem

‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’ is a little gem of a poem among Walt Whitman’s oeuvre. In this post we’d like to share the poem, and offer a few words of analysis. What does Whitman mean by using the ‘noiseless patient spider’ when depicting his own soul?

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul. Read the rest of this entry