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A Short Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s ‘There’s a certain Slant of light’

A reading of a classic Dickinson poem

‘There’s a certain Slant of light’ is poem 258 in Emily Dickinson’s Complete Poems. It’s one of Dickinson’s more famous poems, though as with much of her finest work the poem resists any straightforward analysis of its meaning. But we’re going to attempt to shed some light on that ‘certain Slant of light’ here.

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are – Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s ‘One need not be a Chamber to be Haunted’

A summary of a classic poem

‘One need not be a Chamber – to be Haunted’. So begins one of Emily Dickinson’s most striking poems. This poem requires close analysis because it presents an interesting nineteenth-century example of the internalisation of ‘spirits’ and the notion of ‘haunting’.

One need not be a Chamber—to be Haunted—
One need not be a House—
The Brain has Corridors—surpassing
Material Place—

Far safer, of a Midnight Meeting
External Ghost
Than its interior Confronting—
That Cooler Host. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s ‘A Light Exists in Spring’

A summary of a classic spring poem

‘A Light Exists in Spring’ is not Emily Dickinson’s best-known poem, but it is a fine poem about the spring season, so we wanted to offer a few words of analysis of it here. The poem doesn’t appear to be online anywhere already in the ‘correct’ form – i.e. how it’s rendered in the Complete Poems, with the right words capitalised and those trademark dashes in the right place. Here is ‘A Light Exists in Spring’ as it appears in the Complete Poems.

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period –
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels. Read the rest of this entry