Analysis of Dickinson's Loaded Gun Poem

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In the poem 764 of The Norton Anthology which starts "My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun -" (line 1), Emily Dickinson takes on the role of a married woman of the nineteenth century whose husband owns and completely controls her. The woman, whose voice Dickinson wrote from, reflects on the importance of her husband's life to hers and her dependency on him being there to direct her life. Dickinson never married and lived a secluded life in her family's home, only ever leaving the house for one year before returning again. Though she did not marry, the traditional roles of women still restricted her to live in the home of her family and under the ruler ship of her father like the rest of the women in the house. Some of her close friends and family also married. Throughout this poem Dickinson is able to mock the typical marriage and roles that the nineteenth century expects of women. In the first stanza Dickinson wrote that the nineteenth century woman spent the early part of her life waiting for a man to direct it. The woman, like most nineteenth century women, spent the early part of her life in her family's home under the rule of her father. She stood in the corners not really being used or appreciated and not being completely directed or told what to do. The "Loaded Gun" symbolizes the woman's life, meaning that she had spent her life waiting around until "The Owner passed - identified - / And carried" (3-4) her away. She awaited the day when a man would come to identify and choose her for a wife or otherwise stay in the same home under her father's rule for the rest of her life much like Emily Dickinson did herself. When she married the husband took on the role of the "Owner" and the woman became another possession the husband controlled. The woman, or "Loaded Gun," being a tool ready for use and in need of ownership to amount to anything. Through the second stanza Dickinson emphasizes how the nineteenth century wife is this tool. The hunter also...
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