Emily Dickinson Hope is the thing with Feathers Analysis

Emily Dickinson Hope is the thing with Feathers Analysis

  • January 11, 2022
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Is the intellect high or the hope? Which of them do you consider is the highest? Can intellect assure us of future happiness? By no means! Its field is very narrow. If you choose hope then you are right. Emily Dickinson in her poem “Hope is the thing with Feathers” creates an analysis of human capacity for thinking about their future. As usual, she uses a poetic device called metaphor for this purpose. The poet gives hope a shape of a bird, through which she very skillfully portrays her message about hope.

Emily Dickinson Hope is the thing with Feathers Analysis

It is also a matter of fact that most of the poems of Emily Dickinson are based on themes of sadness and despair, most famous example of which is “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died“; however, this specific poem is all about living in the world. She shows that hope is a divine light which remains with everyone until he dies. The poet elucidates a message that it comforts everybody in times of trouble. Hence, in this poem the readers realize that morality is also another important characteristic of Emily Dickinson poetry. The poem consists of three stanzas and each stanza contains four lines. Habitually, the poet uses more dashes than any other punctuation mark. She also somewhere capitalizes the initial letter of a word to emphasize its importance. Mood of the poet in the whole poem remains optimistic.

Stanza-I Analysis:

The poet in the very first line of the poem uses a metaphor. In her poem “Because I could not Stop for Death”, she metaphorically gives human characteristics to death. In this poem too, she uses a metaphor but that is not related to human characteristics. Hope is a bird in her opinion. She uses this metaphor because humans are not always considered as a symbol of positivity. On the other hand, birds have some attributes due to which they mostly are used as symbols of optimism. Nonetheless, she does not specify the bird.

Initial line of the poem is not very much clear to the readers. She says that “Hope” has feathers. She just starts creating a shape from hope. In the second line of “Hope is the thing with Feathers”, Emily Dickinson makes an analysis of the purpose of creating this bird. She uses the word “perches”, which has several meanings; however, considering the situation of the poem, readers realize that she uses this word to indicate that it is a roost for a bird. She means to say that hope is a bird that stays in the soul and of course she talks about the human soul.

In the next two lines of this stanza the poet expresses her opinion that hope is among those birds that apparently do not sing any song but at the same time it does not remain silent. Hope forever helps a person in times of need. Hope never helps a person physically. The poet means that it motivates a person internally to perform a task, which is the best help. With this type of help, people solve the difficult difficulties of their lives.

Stanza-II Analysis:

In the previous stanza of the poem, the poet does not use the word bird for hope. She just says that hope has feathers from which the readers have clue that she is talking about a bird. In this stanza she clears the metaphor that is the core of this poem. She uses the word “Bird” which means that she creates an example of a bird to elucidate the most underestimated thing i.e. hope. She explains the importance of hope in life.

Analysis of this stanza of “Hope is the thing with Feathers” is that Emily Dickinson emphasizes the importance of hope in one’s life. Hope is a bird that never stops singing songs. Meaning thereby that mostly hope never lets a person give up on life no matter how much he worries and hard times he faces. She uses two important words in this regard: “Gale ” and ”abash”. Gale means strong winds and abash means embarrassments; she talks about the hard days of life. Even the stressful days cannot blow the candle of hope. A person can deal with them only if he has hope.

Middle stanza of the “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” creates an analysis not only of the life of Emily Dickinson but also of everyone’s life. This stanza summarizes the only one major and important theme of this poem i.e. hope. She stresses that sweet words (song) of hope (bird) takes away our sorrows. Its voice is a motivational song for everybody. In the last line of this stanza, “That kept so many warm”, means that the hope stands by our lifeless body. It keeps us going and going and ultimately helps us to reach our goals. These lines are highly symbolic; warm symbolizes many things, one of which is that hope never lets us give up.

Stanza-III Analysis of Hope is the thing with Feathers Analysis by Emily Dickinson

The poem ends with the message that people do not understand the importance of hope in life. The poet has experienced so many things; she has seen hope in the “chillest land” and “strangest Sea”, which means that even in the worst time of life hope remains with a person; she uses these words to indicate the vastness of hope as it remains everywhere with everyone. The poet describes (hope’s) scope in form of “chillest land” and “strangest Sea”. Further, it (hope) never asks for anything in return. The unending services of hope are considerable and should not be forgotten.

Without hope there is nothing in life. Everyone knows that life is harsh and it is very difficult to live in this world. Many writers and poets try their best to define life but no one has yet succeeded. It is the only hope due to which people live. They suffer continuously but hope never lets them give up on life. Analysis of the whole poem “Hope is the thing with Feathers”, transpires that Emily Dickinson is of the opinion that hope costs nothing as oxygen, sunlight and water costs nothing, resultantly, people do not understand its importance. In the end, hope is a very valuable thing which costs nothing at all; therefore, its importance should never be underrated.

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