December 4, 2018
The poem "I stay in Possibility" composed by American female artist Emily Dickinson is a one of a kind. The poem discusses the limits that accompany composing poetry verses composing prose. In this particular poem, it is proven that poetry is more intriguing than the writings that involve prose. Dickinson separates all of the key elements throughout the poem that in all actuality make poetry more entertaining than the composing of prose. Dickinson uses allusion, imagery, and the overall structure within her poem to convey that poetry is stronger than prose.
Dickinson's use of imagery is very important. It allows her to provide proof towards her original argument. the poem is started by Dickinson comparing how us as the readers of her poem see prose as well as poetry. She is constantly trying to relay back to her main point throughout the entire poem giving clear, well thought out details as to why we should believe that poetry is in fact a better piece of literature than prose would ever be. In another one of Dickinson's poems “A fairer House than Prose— / More numerous of Windows—”. It is stated that poems seem to have a larger amount of windows in the house that is being described as poetry. Now, us as readers are trying to capture this specific image in our heads, hint the term imagery. And with this image of a large amount of windows we can see that all of these windows allow the readers to look inside the house, which is the poem and take information from what they see from the authors use of imagery to fully understand what content is being provided by Dickinson. Dickinson's use of imagery also helps us the understand the comparison between poetry and prose. Poetry being this large house with a lot of windows and prose being a house that is small and dark and isn't really allowing us to see through it. Dickinson uses the symbolization of the roof mentioned in this poem because it signifies the protection and shelter towards the world of poetry. This symbol allows the audience to feel like the house of poetry is very inviting as to the house of prose which is being suggested as the completely opposite, cold and uninviting.
Another example that Dickinson uses is the constant use of the word everlasting. Dickinson using the word everlasting is in fact an oxymoron. Because it is referring to the life span of poetry and how it supposedly will never die. But of course it will never die. It never really lived in the first place. But it also is making it seem that if the lifespan of poetry is everlasting than the lifespan of a prose is not everlasting like Dickinson is trying to explain with fully saying it.
The second literary device that Dickinson uses to make her poem more effective is allusion. An allusion is defined as typically referencing to an external source that helps enrich the poem and what it has to say. For example In the In the poem “And for an everlasting Roof,” does not only refer back to the lifespan that the poem has but also talks about a roof that provides protection that could be extended to the “vaults of heaven”. Dickinson using this specific allusion shows how poetry is not limited by any roof and that the roof in the house of poetry can reach the “highest most powerful land” ‘heaven’. Dickinson is mainly focusing on the elegance of poetry and how it can reach among the stars also known as the vaults of heaven. Dickinsons vague use of allusion allows her audience to fully understand her point of view towards poetry and prose with a more defined perspective.
Dickinson's last literary device used to prove her main point is how she overall structured the poem. The overall structure of this poem shows that it isn't a conventional poem. Dickinson's improper use of grammar throughout the poem not only emphasizes some word that are helpful to know but it mainly shows the diversity between Dickinson and all other poets. Her writing is more free and doesn't really have the basic poem guidelines to it. At this point Dickinson's main point of how poetry is extremely more effective than prose was proved because in a prose composition you will see that it is dull and very structured and really doesn't allow an author to show his or herself in their writing while poetry allows anything to happen. Like i said she was very creative with her wording. If she was writing a prose piece there would have been specific guidelines to follow. This poem could be described as a 3-quatrain poem. Which is defined as the poem is not limited to what can and can not be put in to it and it also shows that we never know what exactly we are going to be getting with a piece of poetry unlike if this was a piece of prose we would already have a pretty good idea.
Overall, Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I dwell in Possibility” supports the argument that was trying to be proven by the unusual use of imagery, allusion, and the overall structure of the poem. Dickinson's use of imagery, allusion and structure are a very important part in having proof to support the original main argument, understand the poems point of view, allows the reader to have a clearer understanding of the poem in its entirety and lastly suggests how superior poetry is to prose. The use of all three of these literary devices allows Dickinson's argument to flow steady and solely prove the one composition is extremely better than the other one.
Dickinson, Emily. “I dwell in Possibility.” The Norton Introduction to Literature, Portable 12th
ed., edited by Kelly J. Mays, W. W. Norton, 2017, p. 727.