My Life Had Stood A Loaded Gun By Emily Dickinson

1806 words - 7 pages

Emily Dickinson: Insight into Her Works
As Vincent Van Gogh once said, “If one is a master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.” Grippingly, this seems to be the case with a famous poet known as Emily Dickinson, since her passion for poetry led to her gaining insight into many topics. Born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts, Emily Dickinson went on to drop out of school and live the rest of her days at home with her family. There, she wrote countless amounts of poetic pieces and letters in her notebooks, which went on to be published after her death, on May 15, 1886, in Amherst. She is now considered an important stepping stone to the textual art that is literature. Because she is able to use a unique poetic style, Emily Dickinson provides her in-depth insights on life, death, and the laws of nature in her works.
Although her poems take on many forms—some of which can be difficult to comprehend—Emily Dickinson specializes in expressing her insight towards various topics, most knowingly, life. This can be proven with a few brief analyses on Emily Dickinson’s “My Life had stood — a Loaded Gun —.” By using metaphor to compare her life to a gun, Angela Estes states that Dickinson was able to describe life in three stages: past-when the gun is not used, present-when the gun is being fired, and future-when the gun no longer has bullets (Estes). Her criticism on this poem proves that Emily Dickinson utilizes her metaphoric styles to convey her insight on what life is. Additionally, another critic states the following about this work:
Nevertheless, the problematic last stanza does take us back to a place of separation and inequality. The difference between the master and the gun is that the former is unlikely to be left without the latter because the gun cannot die. Death is what gives life its power. To never die means the true effect, the true power of one’s existence goes unrealized (Palmerino 83).
Palmerino explains that Emily’s life was bounded, which was the very thing that gave her life, because she was one who went “unrealized” (Palmerino 83). However, Emily gives her insight into life being an obstacle of overcoming the master that is the loaded gun as well, as Robert Forman believes that “though the master must live longer than the gun, the gun may also live longer than its master” (Forman). In summary, it can be agreed that Emily Dickinson believes that life consists of stages. And it is within these stages, that one must overcome obstacles.
Another topic—among many others—that Emily Dickinson expresses in her poetry, and one that is considered to be the most prominent in her works, is death. Dickinson’s perspicacious understandings toward the topic of death are incredibly unique compared to how other American authors interpret it, and this is clearly shown in one of her poems “I’ve seen a Dying Eye.” In this poem, “no matter how close or how...

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