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"After Great Pain A Formal Feeling Comes" By Emily Dickenson

569 words - 3 pages

After Great Pain A Formal Feeling ComesAfter great pain a formal feeling comes--The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;The stiff Heart questions--was it He that bore?And yesterday--or centuries before?The feet, mechanical, go roundA wooden wayOf ground, or air, or ought,Regardless grown,A quartz contentment, like a stone.This is the hour of leadRemembered if outlived,As freezing persons recollect the snow--First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.Line-By-Line InterpatationLine 1- A great pain is a formal feeling. This can relate to a funeral.Line 2- Never sit still are the people bustling about to go to the funeral.Line 3- The still heart (death) Questions itself.Line 4- Death has ...view middle of the document...

Line 13- Process of death. The death of Emily Dickinson.In "After great pain a formal feeling comes-" Emily Dickinson presents death from the perspective of the bereaved. This poem is written in the third person, and informs the reader as to the actions and thoughts of the mourners through an omniscient narration. In contrast, most of Dickinson's other death related poems show the reader the perspective of the dead. The vivid imagery in this poem functions to enhance the reader's perception of the poem. The following passage conveys a resplendent physical sense of coldness as someone is frozen to death:"This is the Hour of Lead--/ Remembered, if outlived, / As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow--/ First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go--"/ The innovative diction in this passage creates an eerie atmosphere all by itself. Dickinson also excellently portrays the restlessness of the mourners in this following passage: "The Feet, mechanical, go round--/ Of Ground, or Air, or Ought--" Describing the feet as "mechanical" shows the agitation and displacement of the mourners. Also, in the next line, "Ought" most closely means "Emptiness." Dickinson artistically shows us how the mourners are dealing with their loss in this next passage: "A Wooden way/ Regardless grown, / A Quartz contentment, like a stone--" To deal with their loss, the mourners have separated themselves from the rest of the world. Their reaction to this catastrophe has become one of denial, causing each to develop "A...contentment, like a stone--." In this really the whole process of death is shown. How we live, we die and then we mourn the death.

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