Emily Dickinson comparison of Poems

Topics: Death, Reincarnation, Change Pages: 3 (733 words) Published: October 19, 2014
In 1859 Emily Dickinson wrote a poem about death. In 1861 she rewrote that poem with very different imagery making it a lot darker. The poem itself is rather short, only two stanzas. The first stanza is only changed by one word, though its meaning is significant. The second stanza however changes completely, from light and spring like to dark and wintery. There is also significant change in punctuation and additional dashes in the second piece. This is a classic characteristic of Emily Dickinson writing and since she never explained it to anyone before her death we can only take a guess as to what it really means. In the 1859 version she writes, “Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection”. In the 1861 version it is changed to “Lie the meek members of the Resurrection-“ . She immediately changes the tone of the poem from being at peace with death and awaiting the resurrection to just being there, not waiting for anything and unaware of what is happening. The word “Lie” completely cancels the notion of Resurrection in the second piece. Further changes in the first stanza are only in use of punctuation and capitalization. Though it is unclear what Dickinson means by it. The ending of the first stanza in the 1859 version says; “Rafter of satin, And roof of stone.” In the 1861 version she ends with “Rafter of Satin- and Roof of Stone!” I feel that in the second version she is ending with much more emotion and putting much more emphasis on the location of the deceased. She seems to be much more impatient or irritated. Maybe due to the fact that these “meek” or humble people are lying in such a nice place that is not only made of white marble, but also covered in satin and stone which in the time of this poem being written would be a symbol of wealth and power. In the 1859 version of the poem, Dickinson personifies death with images from spring. Spring is the time of rebirth and resurrection. It is a part of nature and the natural cycle of things. The person...
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