Monday, January 22, 2007

Her Letter to the World




Please read the following poem by Emily Dickinson and respond to the questions below:

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

What inferences could you make from this poem about Emily Dickinson as a poet and a person? Examine also her picture above and comment on her expression, clothing, and/or overall appearance. How does she strike you?

28 Comments:

Blogger Kevin said...

With this poem at mind one caan infer that Emily Dickinson seemed like a transadentalist in a way. She shows this attribute when she discusses what nature says and when she says, "For love of her, sweet country men...". Country men implieing that a person living out in nature, and usually without a lot of technology. I can also tell that she is not big on rhyming, because I can only spot out two sequences when she rhymes. I also think that maybe she didn't have alot of friends, or people that respected her. I think this because in the first two stanzas she says that she wrote to the world, but the world never wrote her back. It almost seems as if she thinks the world never acknowledged her. In her picture, I see that he lived in the 1900's because of the style of the dress. Her expression exzibits a feeling of confusion, or uncaring. I can understand why she would have an uncaring face on though; the world doesn't care about me, so why should I care about the world? She also strikes me as descent looking. I wonder if she has a husband, and he mistreats her, and thats why she might have such a negative outlook to the people of the world.

6:15 PM  
Blogger CecilyJ said...

I agree with Kevin, that Emily Dickenson had a negative outlook on life. She seems to be angry at the situation that she is in. I think that she may be fighting for women’s rights because of the way that she asks to be judged tenderly (Women’s rights were a touchy subject at the time). I think that this poem is asking for a change and looking for a reaction in society. Her overall appearance reflects this feminist view too, because she is dressed in very modest clothing, and looks very plain. She is not overdressed, and is definitely not dressed to impress. Her expression displays her dissatisfaction with the world at the present time. She strikes me as a strong, capable and very determined woman.

7:07 PM  
Blogger emily k said...

Emily Dickinson seems to be a lover of nature… philo-nature. She states, “The simple news that Nature told, with tender majesty”. She seems to believe in the Mother Nature and Father Time as she refers to nature as a “she”. With that, Emily Dickenson appears to be a feminist of some sort. She wears her hair tightly pulled back and does not seem to pretty herself up. She is wearing an old looking dress and a necktie. Emily does not appear to take care of herself. She seems to be drawing a blank expression on her face. Someone told me once that Ms. Dickenson had a tough life and many struggles. Emily Dickenson seems to be a lost soul searching for acceptance.

7:10 PM  
Blogger AdamB said...

Emily Dickenson at first comes off to me as an innocent person. An individual blinded by the pain of humanity. While in real life I know that she wrote many poems about suicide and giving up on life. She was clever with her poems taking usual happy objects and projecting them as bad ideas and suicide. Her body posture in the picture seems almost fragile as if a small gust can break her. Her expression is a mimic of the Mona Lisa. Her face is a blank slate with no emotion. No happiness and no suffering. Her writing expresses something deeper. Her poem exclaims her suffering and pain of how the world never listened to her sorrow. She asked for help and all that was returned was silence. Her body positioned so unique and innocent as if posing for a lifetime while her emotions sit uncomfortably rocking back in forward in the chair waiting to break free from the chains of flesh.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily Dickinson seems to me to be a person who cares about her country. She cares about everyone in this world, not just the people she knows but espescially she people she does not. She is trying to speak out to the men and women that every person in this world is important. Emily Dicckinson strikes me as a person who is very intelligent and caring.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Jordan L said...

I think that Emily Dickinson is saying that nature has benefited everyone else but her. Basically, that the world has not taken recognition to Emily and she feels sort of unimportant. This is shown when she states, " This is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me...” When she says, "Her message is committed To hands I cannot see...", I think she is expressing that Nature is favorable to everyone else, people that she does not know. Nature helps everyone but her. I think she is asking maybe to take pity on her because she is not as happy as she would like because of the courses nature has taken on her. She is not saying though that she hates nature because she says, " For love of her, sweet countrymen, Judge tenderly of me!” This is saying that she does have a love for nature even when she says that she necessarily doesn't feel it has helped her in her life. In her picture, Emily does not look too happy. She looks as if she wants something more with her smile that is almost expressionless. Her hair and clothes are nothing fancy and she looks plain and simple. From this photo it appears that she may be poor from the way her clothing is.

8:36 PM  
Blogger amberh said...

Emily Dickenson seems very soft spoken and modest. Her clothing is not flashy and her expression seems to be comfortable, not fake. The poem tells that Emily has struggled with the world or people in it; however, she is not hostile of holding a grudge. Instead, Emily looks at the good parts of the world and admires them. This poem says a lot about who she is as a person and how she treats other people.

8:47 AM  
Blogger emily lewis said...

I find this poem to be very difficult to understand but I think Emily Dickinson is talking about how Mother Nature is kind and tender. When she says, “judge tenderly of me!” is interesting because judging is usually thought of as being harsh but then she says “tenderly” and this changes the whole meaning of this phrase. This relates to Emily because she looks at the world as being loving and kind to her while still doing what is must do. She seems to have a positive outlook on the world. This is unusual because she lived her life in solitude and hid herself from the world. The picture shows a lot about what she must have been like. She looks quiet and hidden. Her dark clothes seem to show her sadness and her tightly pulled back hair shows her simplicity and shyness. This picture does not relate to the poem because she looks like a dark sad person while her writing seems happier and light.

10:27 AM  
Blogger MollyR said...

This is a very interesting poem. I agree with Kevin. It doesn’t seem like Emily Dickenson has a very bright outlook on life. It seems like she is angry at the world. When she says, “to hands I cannot see” I think she means that she does not want to see any people. She probably doesn’t go out of her house very much. In the picture, her clothes are dark and she has a blank expression on her face. She looks like she is trying to prove a point.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Lizzie A said...

I really agree with Amber. She does seem to be modest, and soft spoken. Though, part of her words seem to paint the picture of someone who doesn't want to hold a grudge, another part of it also seems to think that she was wronged and that she deserves better that what she was given. I also think that her clothes match the modesty in her poem, and make her seem like a person who would understand the hardships in life, but not be "overtaken" by grief.

2:34 PM  
Blogger abmunguia said...

Emily Dickinson portrays a somewhat negative personality in the beginning of the poem. But, towards the end she shows a more kind side, “For love of her, sweet countrymen, judge tenderly of me!” she also makes me think that she just wants to be appreciated for who she is.

3:19 PM  
Blogger JBeckmann1 said...

I agree with Kevin in the fact that Emily Dickinson seems like a transadentalist. She shows her love for nature as she says "For love of her, sweet countrymen..." When saying countrymen, she is referring to men that live out in nature with not much around them. She wears a very modest clothing which shows the way that she feels throughout the poem.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Brittany F said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Brittany F said...

Through this poem, I feel as if Emily Dickinson was lonely and in need of a companion. I also feel that she wanted to grasp the attention of those around her through "pity" poems. For example when she states, "This is my letter to the world, That never wrote me" Emily gives the impression that it was up to everyone that surrounded her to please her and make her happy when in reality she was perfectly capable of creating a two-way relationship. While viewing the picture of Emily Dickinson, I saw a lost and lonely woman in search of a superior life. She looked frail as if she had not eaten in days, possibly because she simply forgot to because her abandoned body was close to lifeless. Her facial expressions appear as if she desperately wants to smile but she is so lost in her lonely thoughts that her true emotions cannot sneak their way through. Also, she looks like she is drowning in her clothes. Lastly, when looking towards her hands, the way she is holding that material makes me think she is nervous and uneasy about another person photographing her.

5:01 PM  
Blogger karlak said...

I think that Emily Dickinson is a very negative person, who happens to like nature. When reading her poem, I felt that she had a very negative outlook on life. She seemed like she likes nature but all the while, see is also against it and it seems like she has resentment towards nature when she says "That never wrote to me." When looking at her picture, she looks like a very closed person and maybe the way she expresses herself is through writing and not so much words. Since it doesn't look like she would be very socially and have many friends. She also seems to have a somewhat sad expression on her face. I am also wondering though, what does the world have to judge her for when she says "Judge tenderly of me!"

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that Emily Dickinson isn't a very happy person in this poem. The stanza "This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me." makes me believe that she thinks the world has ignored her. Yet it also seems that she has a love for life as well and is a very caring person. Her image doesn't really strike me as happy nor does it strike any sort of feeling for me. The black and white coloration and her blank look on her face doesn't show much emotion but it does show a determined woman behind it.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that Emily Dickinson isn't a very happy person in this poem. The stanza "This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me." makes me believe that she thinks the world has ignored her. Yet it also seems that she has a love for life as well and is a very caring person. Her image doesn't really strike me as happy nor does it strike any sort of feeling for me. The black and white coloration and her blank look on her face doesn't show much emotion but it does show a determined woman behind it.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also agree with Kevin on the fact that she could have been a transcendentalist. I get this impression because her poem talks about nature. Her quote, “The simple news that nature told, with tender majesty” implies that Emily Dickinson believed that nature is beautiful and powerful. She seems like the kind of person that is very reserved and quiet. I would guess that she didn’t have a lot of friends because she loved to write poems. She doesn’t seem to be super wealthy either, because her clothing is not extremely detailed and elegant. Emily seems like a very nice and proper person, whom I would have loved to have a conversation with. I bet she was a very knowledgeable person with a strong opinion.

8:32 PM  
Blogger JasonW1 said...

Well the truth is, I didn’t really understand what the poem was really about . The poem did make me think that Emily Dickenson was a very kind loving person, who cared a lot for others. In the picture she looks very innocent and a person who wouldn’t hurt a fly. She is holding something in her hands but I don’t know what it is. I infer that Emily Dickenson was a very nice girl.

9:16 PM  
Blogger umbertok said...

The things I can infer from the poem and the picture are things about her life. The “For love of her line”, reminds me of Thoreau. They have the same views on society. They both seem to believe nature will help you find true happiness. What scares me thought is that she may believe that she has found a way to happiness but is not using it. His thought is found in the first two lines, “This is my letter to the world, / That never wrote me”

5:57 PM  
Blogger Alyssa W. said...

From the poem, she seems like a a big time feminist. I don't know why but the way she presents her words about the woman makes it seem like she would have stong feminie views. It also seems like Dickinson could be very sad and wanting some attention from someone. In her picture she does seem a little uneasy but at the same time so peaceful. I have always heard about how creepy and dark she is but this picture doesn't really show it that much.

7:20 PM  
Blogger TylerM4 said...

As a poet Emily Dickenson is seen as a great, and rightfully so. This poem brings out her uncanny ability to bewilder readers to a point of frustration. She seems like a very depressed person blaming the world for not keeping in touch with her even though she has made several attempts to keep in touch with it. She says that nature is for people unlike her “Her message is committed/ To hands I cannot see;” Emily does not see who nature is committed to, but she knows that it is not her. She seems like the type of lady that would sit on her front porch and yell at all the kids that ran through her lawn.

7:46 PM  
Blogger shadeh said...

Based on this poem, I can infer that Emily Dickson is a very peaceful person. Her comment about nature struck me as the kind of person who stands up for nature. In a way this poem is her standing up for nature against the rest of mankind. From her picture she seems like a very quiet and delicate woman, but the thoughts she has been known to put down are very bold and strong.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the picture, it looks like Emily Dickinson has some sort of secret, i infer this from the smirk she has. She looks very uptight as well, it's like she is one person to the outside world, and she is another through her poetry. I think she is kind of bitter about the way she cares about the world, yet no one shows the same emotion towards her. Also it definitly seems as though she has a hidden message in her poetry.

9:58 PM  
Blogger BillM said...

Emily Dickerson to me seems like a low key person who would be referred to in society as an outcast. When stating that the world never wrote to her, I recognized how she most likely lived a quiet solemn life, not satisfied with her social status in the world. As a poet, she was someone who told people her feelings through her writings for she probably did not have someone to share with or that she was close with. This I think is startling though for in her picture I took her to be somewhat of a cutie. Hmmm?….

10:39 PM  
Blogger JLeadem1 said...

In reading this poem I saw that Emily Dickinson was trying to tell us to love nature, for it tells us of its beauty without words yet the message it sends throughout our bodies is just as powerful as any poem could be. The message she is trying to send us is the one that there are just something in this world where its beauty doesn’t have to be explained in order for us to appreciate it. It is also through her message that I also notice something about her character, for she seems to be very in touch with nature, for in the poem it is hard to distinguish when she is talking of herself and when she is talking of mother nature. As for her picture, I can see even more proof of her intimate connection with nature, for in her picture I see that she is dressed really plainly, very simple, a quality commonly associated with those who are close to nature; simple not extravagant. But the most striking thing about her is that she promotes the idea that we don’t have to be told what is beautiful, for if it truly is we need no help in observing that beauty in this world.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Michael M. said...

I see Emily Dickinson as a nature lover as well. She seems lonely and mad at the world because of the line, "..the world, That never wrote me," but at the same time she seems like she loves life. I have to say that I agree with Kevin that she is "decent looking". Again, from the picture, she seems ungroom because she doesnt live with anyone.

7:14 PM  
Blogger lukes said...

The poem seemed to be unsure of herself and insecure. She doesn't look to be beautiful but not ugly. Just plain, black and white. Like there is nothing that she has hidden from the world. She is not an outgoing person and is more to herself. Not much excitment in her life.

1:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home