Poetry is a literary work that is meant to evoke an emotional response from the reader. A poet uses creativity and imagination to capture the reader’s attention. Most poems are concise, shorter than other literary works, but never short of substance. Often times poetry can take simple, ordinary details and give them new meaning and significance that may not have been appreciated otherwise. In Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” Dickinson uses several different literary techniques that capture the reader’s attention and trigger an emotional response. First of all, Emily Dickinson chose to use informal diction in this poem. Informal diction is the use of informal, conversational language, or slang to give the poem a more genuine composition (Clugston, 2010). For example, she writes; “Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise, you know.”
She uses the phrase “you know” just as anyone would in a casual conversation. This gives the reader the feeling that the narrator could be speaking to him/her directly.
In addition to the colloquial language, Dickinson chooses to speak directly to the reader by using pronouns such as “you” and “us” (Clugston, 2010). This is a calculated decision, designed to connect the reader to the poem on an emotional level. Dickinson must have realized that everyone has felt feelings of rejection and isolation, therefore she focused her writing to relate to the reader and speak to those personal experiences.
In an early evaluation of Dickinson’s work, a critic wrote, “This poetry is as characteristic of our life as our business enterprise, our political turmoil, our demagoguism, or our millionaires” (Wells, 1929).
Emily Dickinson uses irony quite cleverly throughout this short poem. The poem begins with a kind of introduction, during which the narrator claims to be nobody, and connects with the reader by establishing that the two have something in common. Both of them share a similar...
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