In Emily Dickinson’s poems “They shut me up in Prose—” and “The Brain—is wider than the sky,” Dickinson explores the process of creativity and thought. Similarly, Emily Bronte in her poem “To Imagination,” explores imagination and praises the benefits of creativity. Dickinson, as well as Bronte, speak of the brain’s tremendous strength, the power of imagination, as well as the struggle when creativity is held captive. Dickinson, through interesting style techniques as well as imagery, boasts the liberating effect of creativity. Both authors link the brain’s power of creation to more than just the ability to create poems—it creates solace, liberation, and ultimately, vitality to both authors.
In the poem “The Brain—is wider than the sky,” Dickinson speaks highly of the strength that the brain possesses. In the opening stanza Dickinson writes: The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For— put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside— (1-4)
The speaker of the poem compares the sky to the brain. The brain, as Dickinson sees it, is far more spacious and extensive than the sky could ever be. The choice of capitalization is very interesting here. Other than the first word of every line, the only words to be capitalized are “Brain” (1), “Sky” (1), and “You” (4). The idea of self (you) and an actual part of oneself (brain) forces the reader to contrast the unparalleled vastness of human creativity against the sky. This is shown visually in the poem, also. The “You” in line 4, separated by two lines, falls directly in the middle of “Brain” and “Sky” in line one. This creates the image of a scale. By doing this, Dickinson not only adds depth to poem, but forces “You” to act as a scale—judging the “Brain” against the “Sky.” Dickinson also plays with the ease of how the sky will be contained. Line three, which ends with the word “contain,” is the only line without a dash, leaving the sky contained both in the brain and physically in the...
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