Emily Dickinson and Her Social Seclusion

Topics: Poetry, Metropolitana di Napoli, Madrid Metro Pages: 3 (750 words) Published: October 16, 2012
Dickinson’s I Dwell in Possibility is one great example of how the poet transforms finite to infinite through the imaginative world of poetry. Through the use of metaphors, Dickinson has shown how domestic images such as house, chambers, roof, doors and windows can be extended to infinite imaginations in the poetic world. The “fairer House” (line 2) serves as a metaphor for poetry and the “Visitors” (line 9) who are the fairest may be a metaphor for the readers of poetry. The first four lines compare poem and prose by saying poem is more “superior” (line 4) as it has more “windows” and “doors”—suggesting that poems are subject to more flexible interpretations. The second stanza talks of how this fairer house can be extended to nature such as “Cedars” (line 5) and “the Sky” (line 8). The final stanza reveals writing poems as the speaker’s “Occupation” (line 10). She opens the world of poetry by the “widening” of her “narrow hands”, which serves as a metaphor for the act of writing. “Wide” and “narrow” form a pair of contrast while the repetition of fairness (fairer and fairest are used in the first and last stanza respectively) reiterates that poem is fairer than prose. Dickinson has portrayed the infinite possibilities of poetry through the use of domestic imagery: from the roof of the house to the infinite sky and from the finite hands to the “Paradise” of poetry. This echoes what Wordsworth claims,

Poets choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as possible in a selection of language really used by imagination, and at the same time, to throw over them a certain coloring aspect; whereby ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect.

The loose syntax of the poem and the frequent use of dashes have added to the overall flexibility and the many ‘possibilities’ the poem has:

I dwell in Possibility–
A fairer House than Prose–
More numerous of Windows–
Superior–for Doors–...
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