Emily Dickinson’s poem, “He Fumbles at Your Soul,” delves into the possession and affects of a soul by another being or thing. The primary figure, “He,” within Dickinson’s poem is intentionally ambiguous because “his” identity does not truly matter. The mystery surrounding this element of the poem may be the downfall of any reader, as one might struggle with the varying connotations of for each reading, however, much of the poem also requires further inspection. It may be further postulated that Dickinson wants the reader not to understand the cause of the poem, but to focus on experiencing the terrible moment she describes. This “He” may be many things, a pianist, a deity, or the wind, all ...view middle of the document...
Further, “Brittle” is employed to express the ultimate fragility of human nature, from the desires, pursuits, and ideas, which weather it. As this terminology also suggests, the soul cannot support itself without this “Ethereal Blow” to cleanse and fortify it, and possibly, neither can humans themselves. The use of “Ethereal,” a celestial or heavenly term implies Dickinson is further fortifying the stark, yet pure nature of this cleansing by God or a god, which is unclear. Additionally, the soul is prepared further for this celestial or heavenly blow
“By fainter Hammers— further heard—
Then nearer— Then so sow.” The slow tease of the “Hammers,” as found in a piano, insinuates the gradual approach of the “Ethereal Blow,” but the generalized “you” cannot take any action against the oncoming events. Additionally, the fainter emergence of these new troubles or “Hammers” exhibits a slower pace of events, similar to the course of variation throughout life. With this momentary lull,
“Your Breath has time to straighten—
Your Brain— to bubble Cool—
Deals—” In this anticipation of waiting, as the “Hammers” drum so slowly, such as the audience for the pianists or “you” for the “Ethereal Blow,” the speaker has time to “straighten” or right her breathing; whatever terror or dread experienced is lulled by the hammers that seem to draw closer, but very slowly so that the 'you' is calmed. In this same time, the brain, initially full and frightened by the unmistakable signs that “He” is stalking, has time "to bubble Cool." Similarly, the calm of aging or retirement in life or the limit of a soul begins to simmer down, relaxing the person and generate new “Deals” or ideas for life. Although it seems much longer and more peaceful, Dickinson portrays it as a mere moment for the soul, only enough to catch its’ breath.
That scalps your naked soul—” It is...