I dreaded that first Robin

I dreaded that first Robin - I dreaded that first Robin,...

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“I dreaded that first Robin, so,” – Emily Dickinson This poem was written in circa 1862, when Emily Dickinson’s production of poems was at its apex. By this time her lifestyle had changed and there are suggestions that she had been affected… - perhaps a suggestion of rejection - a spiritual or religious rejection …as a result, Dickinson became a withdrawn person, somewhat of a recluse. Clearly, as the “Queen of Calvary” (Calvary being the mountain on which Christ was crucified, suggesting extreme suffering – an embodiment of torment) she found aspects of life painful and difficult, I ask you to question whether in this poem, she finds confronting the boldness and audacity of nature a painful experience. Although there are many suggestions of her losing her virginity, the imagery is transparent, and can be interpreted in many ways. Some possible readings of the poem… - A quiet, socially withdrawn hermit suddenly confronted by the richness, the profusion, the unruliness of nature. Something which, at this time in her life, was completely opposite to her, she felt threatened and challenged by it. - The “Robin” which she so dreads, could symbolise the change from winter to spring, its rich red breast and urge to survive emphasises for Dickinson, the richness of life. It evokes in her, anxiety. - “But he is mastered now” – Dickinson has become used to the sight of the Robin, it is a common sight in spring and she knows that she has to adapt. She is “some accustomed” but still feels somewhat uncomfortable in its presence. - “Till that first Shout got by” – could be an image of / a reference to birdsong. In contrast with the winter, the birdsong of spring is significantly much louder, also, take into account that she lived in rural Massachusetts, in spring, the birds would flock in by the thousands. Perhaps the apparent happiness of the birdsong depresses her. Furthermore,
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I dreaded that first Robin - I dreaded that first Robin,...

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