Emily Dickinson is an American poet of exclusion, whose writing consists of passionate and emotional eccentric meanings with much complexity. Her poems interpret her relationship with society, where she struggles to maintain her independence and needs to isolate from society to maintain this. Dickinson’s use of structure, syntax and rhyme are complex and do not conform to the norms of poetic structure, which is a parallel to Emily’s peculiar lifestyle.
Dickinson’s poem ‘A prison gets to be a friend’ explores her complicated understanding of limitation and freedom, reflecting her self-imposed isolation, through a male persona. A prison symbolises confinement however, this limitation provides freedom for Dickinson’s persona which is depicted in the opening line of the poem. The narrator explains her contentment with isolation when she says that a prison “gets to be a friend”. This use of personification establishes the idea that the persona feels comfortable in their confinement, as if it were a friend. This signifies how Emily enjoys seclusion and has chosen a prison to be her refuge. In the following stanza, Emily shows appreciation of her confinement through, “the appointed Beam” which symbolises something that provides the persona with support and structure. She uses symbolism of food in the second stanza when she writes “It deals us- stated as our food” to represent how the persona not only hungers, but depends on the self-imposed isolation. Dickinson uses juxtaposition to explain the seclusion of a prison by saying “so miserable a sound-at first- nor ever now-so sweet’, describing a prison as both miserable and sweet. This implies that although isolation may seem miserable at first, the privacy and exclusion will eventually grow on you and you begin to appreciate it. The reoccurring metaphor of a prison being the persona’s room is explored when she says ‘A geometric joy’, which suggests that the square shape of a room and its limited circuit brings...
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