November 21, 2012
Much Madness is divinest Sense
Emily Dickinson is was a talented and unique poet; some might even call her strange or mad. This poem, in a way, represents her life that was far from what was considered normal. In the 1800s, a certain type of behavior was expected from people, especially from women. Women cooked, cleaned, and nurtured their families, while under the control of men. It was not looked upon well when women strayed from this status quo. Emily Dickinson did, and this poem demonstrates this rebellion. This poem is short in length, like most of Emily Dickinson's other poems. It contains the use of perfect rhymes, imperfect rhymes, and end rhymes. An example of the perfect rhyme is between the words 'sane' and 'chain.' The imperfect rhyme was depicted with the words 'madness' and 'sense.' The rhyming is subtle and adds to the flow of the poem; it is not strict and structured. Emily Dickinson's tone is also a large contributing factor to the flow of the poem. She conveys a tone of defiance, and in some cases, sarcasm. The sarcasm is present in lines six and seven, “Assent – and you are sane – Demur – you're straightway dangerous.” If one agrees with the majority than they are considered sane, but if one disagrees they are dangerous to this majority. The majority may be wrong, but if one just goes along with the status quo they will not be bothered. They might not be making the right decision to avoid making a difficult one and becoming “straightway dangerous.” Another way Dickinson may be representing this sarcasm is through her capitalization of certain letters. She capitalizes the word majority and madness when they do not need to be; she is putting an emphasis or importance in these words to stress her point. The brief eight lines in this poem seems short and simple at first glance, but once it is thoroughly read it is far from simple. A good amount of thought, intellect, and rebellion fill these eight lines...
Cited: “Emily Dickinson.” Poets.org: From the Academy of American Poets. Copyright 1997-2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012. http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/155
Dickinson, Emily, Thomas Herbert Johnson, and Theodora Ward. The Letters of Emily Dickinson. Belknap Press, 1986. 19.
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