Emily Dickinson's Success Is Counted Sweetest Criticism

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Jirawoot Sararit (B.A. English & Linguistics) 1st Class Honors, SWU, Thailand

Success Is Counted Sweetest Success Is Counted Sweetest is a well-known poem written by Emily Dickinson in 1859. It is obviously seen that the message of the poem is that people who do not succeed are those who truly understand success for what it is (Cummings, 2013). In other words, deprivation can lead to greater understanding and appreciation of what people lack. This paper is composed of three points including how the unity of the paradoxical idea of the poem is presented, how the poem can be viewed historically and biographically in feminist aspects, and how the central idea of the poem is responded.

The Unity of the Paradoxical Idea in the Poem
A paradoxical idea appeared in the first stanza of the poem seems to be effectively united since the illustration is clearly demonstrated. The paradoxical idea is that those who do not succeed will understand the joy of success more than those who have tasted success. It is implied that the sweetness also requires people to experience the „sorest need‟ which is in fact, its opposite. To illustrate, the paradoxical idea in the first stanza is attested by the image of a battle in the last two stanzas. Like „the sorest need‟ to taste the nectar, the victors or the „purple Host who took the flag‟ cannot understand the true meaning of a victory. They do not fully comprehend the value of victory. However, the „defeated, dying‟ soldiers actually do. The image of the paradox in the last two stanzas is similar to the idea of the first one. Thus, the paradoxical idea seems to effectively convey the underlying meaning of the whole poem. In other words, the paradoxical ideas in the poem are successfully arranged in unity.

Women’s Viewpoint Based on Historical and Biographical Knowledge According to historical and biographical background of the poet, the poem reflects to feminist...
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