Dickinson Poem Analysis

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Bob Joyce
Ms. Johnson
Sophomore Honors English
30 January 2012
Drunk on Nature
Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed”, is a joyful and lighthearted poem. In the poem, Dickinson continuously compares the effect nature has on her to the effect alcohol has on her. Throughout the poem, Dickinson uses being “drunk” as a metaphor for how exciting and intoxicating nature is to her. This poem also indicated how Dickinson had some transcendentalist beliefs even though her family was of Puritan descent. Dickinson tells the reader in the very first line that she is not talking about alcohol. The first line is, “I taste liquor never brewed” (1). Since the liquor was never brewed, that means that the liquor isn’t real and must symbolize something else. The rest of the first stanza talks about how the liquor that she tastes is better than any alcohol that’s from the Rhine. The Rhine is located in Germany, a country that is known for its beer. This tells the reader that whatever is symbolized by the liquor is really precious and therefore loved by Dickinson.

In the second stanza, Dickinson makes it clear that she is drunk on nature and its effects. This is proven when she says, “Inebriate of air I am, and debauchee of dew” (5-6). These two lines tell us what she’s drunk on. She states that she is drunk and addicted to air and dew. Both air and dew are commonly used to symbolize nature. Dickinson uses a metaphor to compare herself to a debauchee, which is someone who has an addiction problem that is usually alcohol related.

The last two stanzas talk about how long nature will intoxicate her. Dickinson says, “Till seraphs swing their snowy hats, and saints to windows run” (13-14). She means that she will continue drinking nature until she sees the angels and saints. This means that she will continue loving nature until the day she dies. The poem ends with...
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