top-rated free essay

Concept of Belonging in the Poem, A Narrow Fellow in the Grass by Emily Dickenson

By nate12143 Nov 27, 2013 878 Words
How does Dickenson explore the concept of belonging in the poem ‘A Narrow Fellow in the Grass’? Emily Dickenson’s poem “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” explores the concept of belonging through her effective use of poetic techniques. The use of these techniques intrigues audiences to attempt to understand what the poem is about. It is essentially about A speaker comes across a snake in the grass, literally. This basically isn’t much but Dickinson examines how a daily occurrence like this might be meaningful, even vital, to human experience. Dickenson explores the concept of belonging to the larger world and physical environment by asserting that nature provides us a sense of solace and simultaneously explores the development of a desire to belong. On the contrary she displays the limitations of belonging that manifest from the barriers that exist in our connection to nature. Dickenson explores the concept of belonging to the larger world and physical environment by asserting that nature provides us a sense of solace. Nature is a sanctuary that allows us to regain a sense of identity and understanding in our lives. Dickenson uses personification to express the unity of all the creatures that live in nature and the mutual relationship between the speaker and nature through the statement “nature’s people”. The composer effectively uses syntax “his notice sudden is” to establish the profound bond between narrator and nature, this illustrates the cyclical disposition of this connection and how eternal it is. She utilises formal language “I feel for them a transport of cordiality” which suggests the respect the narrator has towards nature and how significant the impact of nature was in his life. The use of second person “You may have met him,--did you not” includes the audience and encourages them to experience the tranquillity of the persona’s interactions with nature, the sibilance “His notice sudden is” reinforces this interaction as it brings the poem some sort of realistic aspect as it resembles the sound of a snake. The poem ‘A Narrow Fellow in the Grass’ explores how we develop a desire to belong and attempt to fulfil this aspiration from a young age. The composer establishes how inevitable it is to search for belonging, highlighting how we endeavour to achieve this through connections and relationships. The childlike nature of the poem is represented through its recurring references to aspects of childhood suggests how inherent our relationship is with nature. The simile of “The grass divides as with a comb” underpins the notion of the intrinsic nature of belonging children desire and experience at such as young age. The image of “Yet when a child, and barefoot” establishes the vulnerability and the youth of the narrator strengthening the naive nature of the poem as realistically it would be too dangerous to go near a snake barefoot. The frequent use of commas, such as “Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash” establishes how “raw” it is and how the author is not as structured as they were in previous stanzas, illustrating the unfiltered phrases and the poets attempt to try and get all their ideas out re-establishing the childish nature of the poem. Therefore, the elements of belonging represented in this poem explores the need for belonging as it is essential to human experience. However, there are limitations that emerge from the barriers that exist in our connections to nature which is explored in Dickenson’s poem. There are strong connections between the natural and human world, but there are also fundamental areas of separation and deceit. Dickinson finds an affinity with “nature’s other people” but she also realises that nature can be threatening. So while she belongs, she also feels alienated. Dickenson explores how nature can be benevolent, but also ruthless and sinister. Much of the tension in the poem derives from the snake. Initially we are comforted into sense that the snake appears harmless, however as the poem progresses, the snake’s presence becomes more ominous and threatening. By the end fear is evoked by “Without a tighter breathing, and zero at the bone”. Allegorically, snakes symbolise evil; the temptation of the Biblical Eve, while literally a danger because of their venomous bites. The accumulation of various elements that lead to the notion of limitations in the ability to belong. The ambiguous endings “and opens further on” and the diction used such as ‘rides’ and ‘zero’ reinforce the disposition of the snake as it is volatile creature increasing the indistinctness of the poem. The alliteration of “attended or alone” reinforces the power of nature in evoking strong emotions. This poem explores the strong connections between the natural and the human world, but there are also fundamental areas of separation. In conclusion, though Dickenson feels a sense of companionship, even camaraderie, with many of "nature's people," nature itself leaves her with a feeling of nervousness, tension, or even fear. And while, as a child, she sometimes tried to create a connection with nature, it would quickly disappear, leaving her to realize they are not creatures to be tamed, but rather, perhaps, best avoided. The notion of deception and camaraderie in the same poem represents the negative aspects of belonging and how there is always something harmful when attempting to belong.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Analysis Of Emily Dickensons Poem: A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

    ...Emily Dickinson's poem, "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass", is believed to have been written in 1865, and is a vivid portrayal of one of the most infamous creatures of the natural world, the snake. "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass" is a short six stanza, narrative which tells the story of an encounter with a snake. The poem expresses emotions of intrig...

    Read More
  • Emily Dickenson's a Narrow Fellow in the Grass

    ...A Close Encounter in Emily Dickenson’s “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” The subject of Emily Dickenson’s “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” is the snake that the young boy encounters in the grass. The poem shows how simple life was when this poem was written. Through elements of poetry Emily Dickenson helps us figure out what the poem i...

    Read More
  • A Narrow Fellow in the Grass - 1

    ..."A Narrow Fellow in the Grass" By Emily Dickinson. "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass" Is believed to have been written in 1865. About a year later it was published under the title "The Snake" by a journal called Springfield Republican. This poem express nature's infamous creatures, the snake. The poem is built around what appears to be an...

    Read More
  • A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

    ...Identify | Technique | Analyse | Evaluate | Conceptualise | Appreciate | “A narrow fellow in the grass / Occasionally rides. / You may have met him – did you not? / His notice sudden is.” | Lexical choice – unusual choice of verb.Modal verbDirect addressParadox | Ride – being carried by the grass, something other-worldly or ghostly ...

    Read More
  • Narrow Fellow

    ...David Toth Professor Toth English 102 August 21, 2008 Rhythm in “A narrow Fellow in the Grass” The basis of rhythm in poetry is meter, the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. However, sounds like rhyme, half-rhyme, alliteration, assonance, and consonance can also affect the way we place stress on words and phrase...

    Read More
  • The Concept of the Outsider in Emily Dickinson's Poems

    ...Choose two Emily Dickinson poems, and explore how the concept of the outsider is represented in the various texts. Emily Dickinson was a prolific writer and poet of the late 19th century. Her texts are simple upon first glance, but once looked at further, are admirably complex. Her speaker almost always relates to being an outsider, and th...

    Read More
  • belonging

    ...Belonging is achieved by many paths. Belonging is a fundamental desire inherent within humans. However, there are various ways to attain a sense of belonging as it can be gained through the forging of relationships to people and places or through the understanding and sharing of similar cultural and religious identities. In Tate Taylor‘...

    Read More
  • Belonging

    ...Belonging essay: ‘An individual’s sense of belonging is determined not only by their own choices, but also by the attitudes of others’. Belonging is an individual’s feeling or level of security and comfort relating physically or mentally to one’s social life. The ‘sense of belonging’ to a place, object or person, allows someone...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.