AP English Literature
01 January 2019
I dwell in Possibilty by Emily Dickinson
In Emily Dickinson’s poem, “ I dwell in Possibility”, the speaker uses symbolism,
metaphors, imagery, alliteration, and structure to not only express her gratitude towards
poetry, but also allow the audience to see how powerful poetry can be by how it
connects the reader and the speaker through just a few words.
Starting with the first stanza, the speaker seems to be comparing poetry to prose
writing. The speaker states, “ A fairer House than Prose -” which introduces the
symbolic meaning of the “house” that is continuously referred to throughout the poem.
It’s logical to say that when the speaker refers to this “house” she is talking about poetry
only because of the fact that “prose”, a very ordinary written language, refers to a style
of writing opposite to poetry. This idea of the house representing poetry, then turns into
an extended metaphor as it compares the two. The speaker then uses imagery to
describe the house as having “more numerous of windows” and “doors” indicating that
poetry is very open and more accessible, which allows for the many interpretations and
perspectives, whereas prose is restricted to having one meaning. Dickinson’s use of
dashes is also very noticeable within this poem as she writes “ -for doors-” this brings
up the question why does she decided to emphasize the doors more than the windows
as previously mentioned in the line before, if they both bring up the same concept of
openness? Doors tend to be a more common and bigger representation of the
“openness” she is trying to get across. Doors are thought of as opening the way the
entrance for something, in this case this suggests the opening the entrance for the
endless interpretations of poetry. Dickinson combined all of these strategies to highlight
that poetry is much more powerful as it has more possibilities as it can be understood
differently by each reader compared to prose that is limited to one.
The poem goes on in the second stanza where the attention shifts from
comparing poetry and prose, but to focusing more on poetry. We continue to see poetry
as a house as the speaker compared the “chambers” of the...