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Refer To Poem 327 "Before I Got My Eye Put Out". How Far And In What Ways Does Emily Dickinson Make The Experience Of Sight Seem Powerful And Important?

1045 words - 4 pages

Dickinson is able to so effectively present the importance of sight because in 1864, she spent seven months in Boston undergoing eye treatment. In Poem 327, she appears to be reflecting on this experience, as well as exploring further possibilities, hence the use of the conditional tense. This is undoubtedly a poem of praise for vision, yet this is balanced by the solitary nature of the poem which creates a sense of pathos. Whilst traditionally women's poetry was considered to be more polite, this is definitely not true of this poem, which uses raw, visceral imagery to emphasise the importance and power of sight.Dickinson establishes three distinctive parts to the narrative; before the narrator 'got [her] eye put out'; after the event and the possibility of her regaining her sight in the future. Dickinson refers to the narrator's loss of sight as her having her 'eye put out'. The aloof expression with which she relates such a critical event immediately excites the reader's attention. Pathos is created with the narrator mourning for her loss and reminiscing about times when she 'liked…to see'. Furthermore, by capitalising 'Eyes', Dickinson emphasises the word and portrays the ideal quality that eyes now possess for the narrator. The reader is able to appreciate that the narrator has needed to find a way to cope without sight; she is no longer one of the 'other Creatures, that have Eyes/ And know no other way-'. Through blindness, the narrator has been forced to develop her imagination. The strength of her imagination is portrayed as something which is, perhaps, better than 'finite eyes' and it appears that the narrator has almost been enlightened since losing her sight. Dickinson conjures up intense, eidetic images of 'Meadows…Mountains…Forests…Stars'. In the final stanza, Dickinson equates the mind's eye with the imagination and '[her] soul', implying that sight is affected by our thoughts and pre-conceptions. She also suggests that people need to look out through 'the Window pane' and perceive what is outside the limitations of their own body. This is possibly something the narrator is able to do now that her mind is no longer affected by her sight.Sight holds such great importance for the narrator that it is bound up with a wide range of emotions. When the narrator is first presented with the possibility of regaining her sight, she declares 'my Heart/ Would split, for size of me'. The forced cesura makes the reader pause, and the exclamatory quality of the syntax reflects the 'split' and its release of energy and bountiful emotions. The repetition of 'mine' suggests the narrator's hunger for ownership of the images. If she owned them, she would be able to satisfy her need by looking at them whenever she desired. In the penultimate stanza, Dickinson uses dashes to isolate 'to look at when I like'. This is the climax of the poem and the isolation of this phrase highlights the magnificent phenomenon of sight. The...

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