Top-Rated Free Essay

I'M Nobody, Who Are You - Emily Dickinson

Good Essays
"I'm Nobody! Who are you?"
This poem opens with a literally impossible declaration—that the speaker is “Nobody.” This nobody-ness, however, quickly comes to mean that she is outside of the public sphere; perhaps, here Dickinson is touching on her own failure to become a published poet, and thus the fact that to most of society, she is “Nobody.”
The speaker does not seem bitter about this—instead she asks the reader, playfully, “Who are you?,” and offers us a chance to be in cahoots with her (“Are you – Nobody – Too?”). In the next line, she assumes that the answer to this question is yes, and so unites herself with the reader (“Then there’s a pair of us!”), and her use of exclamation points shows that she is very happy to be a part of this failed couple.
Dickinson then shows how oppressive the crowd of somebodies can be, encouraging the reader to keep this a secret (“Don’t tell!”) because otherwise “they’d advertise,” and the speaker and her reader would lose their ability to stand apart from the crowd.
It then becomes abundantly clear that it is not only preferable to be a “Nobody,” it is “dreary” to be a “Somebody.” These somebodies, these public figures who are so unlike Dickinson, are next compared to frogs, rather pitifully, we can imagine, croaking away to the “admiring Bog.” These public figures do not even attempt to say anything of importance—all they do is “tell one’s name,” that is, their own name, over and over, in an attempt to make themselves seem important.
This “admiring Bog” represents those people who allow the public figures to think they are important, the general masses who lift them up. These masses are not even granted the respect of having a sentient being to represent them. Instead, they are something into which one sinks, which takes all individuality away, and has no opinion to speak of, and certainly not one to be respected.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    “I’m Nobody! Who are You?” is a poem written by Emily Dickinson. The poem conveys the main idea of being alone, isolated from the society – or being “nobody”. This is partly influenced by the social gender status of Dickinson’s time – 19th century featured the inequality of sexes, where females were expected to stay at home and serve their husbands, thus disconnected from the society. As a result Dickinson had adapted and perhaps taken pleasure into being an outsider, whilst she found it boring to…

    • 1014 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    I'M Nobody, Who Are You?

    • 314 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Zavier Adolphin Professor Bradford English 1102 28 February 2013 Emily Dickinson's "I'm Nobody, Who are you?" Summary Emily Dickinson's "I'm Nobody, Who are you?" is a poem about a person who is a nobody and does not want to become a somebody. The nobody sees another person and asks them if they're a nobody too. She tells them that they should not tell others that they are nobodies because the others do not like nobodies and they tend to exclude them from society. They talk about how dreary…

    • 314 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    One of Emily Dickinson 's most popular poems is "I 'm Nobody! Who are you"? This poem seems to have a light and funny theme because it is about a "nobody". Since most people usually think they are "somebody 's", Emily tells them that they really are not. She puts people in their place by telling them that they don 't seem to matter as much as they think they do while making them question who they really are. "Are you - Nobody - Too?" she asks the reader to think about what they think of themselves…

    • 316 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    understand a hidden message provided by the author. Emily Dickinson, American writer, wasn’t an exception; her poems, especially I’m nobody! Who are you? had an unique technique that support the main idea, explained in this text. Emily’s lifetime was characterized for the isolation of outside world of her era. Her reclusive personality is reflected in the speakers of her poems like the case of I’m nobody! Who are you? Since the first line, Dickinson uses a mysterious…

    • 531 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Emily Dickinson Nobody

    • 572 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Emily Dickinson’s poem “I’m Nobody! Who are You?”, gives the word “nobody” a whole new meaning. She uses distinctive punctuation and wording to suggest that being well-known in life is not as great as it seems. Her poem implies that it is far better to go through life as a humble nobody than a proud somebody. At the start of the poem, Dickinson exclaims that she is a nobody. This is something that most people would be ashamed of, but her use of an exclamation point suggests that she is proud of…

    • 572 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    “I’m nobody! Who are you?” is one of Emily Dickinson’s most important works from her poetry career. This poem addresses the idea of being accepted in society, or as some critics see it, a coming of age and transformation into the adult world. The speaker is seen as an outcast almost calling out the society that they are in. The aspect of Dickinson’s reclusiveness in her life is shown by this poem with her pointing out the wrongs of a society that everyone is supposed to be a part of. There is also…

    • 541 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Im Nobody Who Are You

    • 583 Words
    • 3 Pages

    English 1 4012 13 May 2013 Analysis of “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” by Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson is often called a recluse because she spent the second half of her life secluded from the public in her family home. Out of over 2000 poems she wrote, only 12 of those were published anonymously in her lifetime. Furthermore, the friendships she kept in the latter part of her life were held mostly by letter correspondence. However, Dickinson believed that the best inspiration came from doing…

    • 583 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    This poem by Emily Dickinson conveys that beauty doesn't last. It fades with time and is not very important in life. However truth is something that lasts forever, it is not a physical thing that will wear away with the years. In the poem, beauty and truth have been buried in adjoining rooms, they converse and call each other brethren but in the end, they both fade away and decay into the ground. The effect of this poem is to show that aspects of the human life, our ideals, feelings, and thoughts…

    • 213 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Imagery is the main focus in Dickinson's “I'm Nobody, Who Are You?”.The use of imagery makes the reader feel more special, more unique. She is comparing herself to a frog in a bog it makes us “the readers” to feel like we are right there with her. The speaker feels connected to the other “Nobody” because the other “Nobody” doesn't care what others think. She wants to be herself and does not want to be noticed, but wants to be herself. She is comfortable with who she is turning out to be. The speaker…

    • 298 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Emily Dickinson

    • 1184 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Jasmine Cannon Prof. McDade American Lit II June 27, 2011 Emily Dickinson: American Poet I chose to do my essay over Emily Dickinson who is known as the American Poet. Emily’s poems were often recognized by many different poets and also by several readers due to the fact that she was easy to relate to. Also Dickinson wrote poems that created a significant sign of imagery that created a unique lyrically style of writing. Although half of her work was written during the Civil war…

    • 1184 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays