Poetry Response: Much Madness Is Divinest Sense

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Emily Dickinson’s “Much Madness Is Divinest Sense” is a concise yet interesting poem. The first five lines of her poem seem to introduce the last three, where she states her main point. The main idea of the poem depicted that agreeing with the majority will provide acceptance, but choosing to dispute earns the title of dangerous and even insanity. It is possible to apply this theme to all walks of life (especially as we’re preparing ourselves for college) where peer pressure is always present and people have to change and even hide their true identities to be ‘accepted’.

Dickinson in a way satires society by saying that the majority is almost always ‘right’ and that the majority sets the norms of life. Though in today’s world people have the freedom of speech and to state their opinions, it is likely that such people will be judged based on their opinions. Dickinson’s poem states “assent and you are sane”. We all cannot live in the way of divine sense; we all have to learn acceptable behavior and self control. If we learn these things, we are accepted by society and are sane. If we don’t, we are treated like animals, and that can lead to real insanity. Thus we will be “handled with a chain”, like an animal.

Dickinson believes that society is harsh towards those who choose to stray from mainstream practices and beliefs. In the real world, people are persuaded to be different, but at the same time, forced to conform. If people maintain their opinions, they are likely to be ‘exiled’ for being rebellious and are oftentimes disrespected or ignored. While I was reading this poem, one of the prominent applications that I found was the fact that we are going to face a whole new world imminently: college. Once we leave our familiar comfort zone and close friends, all we are facing is a world of different people- possibly different to the extreme- as well as alien environments and surroundings. Now, I can confidently state that I don’t care about what others think...
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