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Unformatted text preview: English 124.026 Jonathan Lee September 25, 2010 I Wish it Were Death, So I Could Not Stand at All In “It was not death for I stood up”. Dickinson writes about a situation in which one cannot find an end to their misery and gradually comes to grips with how their chaotic life is. The speaker in this poem is so desperate to understand her 1 own condition that concepts such as common sense or reason are used as a form of almost self-denial. Dickinson attempts to express her current ambiguous situation of “it”, by means of very tangible and concrete descriptions, ironically, a scientific-like approach to logic, and metaphors and similes in order to find solace for being in such a confusing state. In the first two stanzas, the speaker begins the poem by almost checking off the possibilities of her condition: “It was not Death, for I stood up, And all the Dead, lie down- It was not Night, for all the Bells Put out their Tongues, for Noon. It was not Frost, for on my Flesh I felt siroccos – crawl – Nor Fire – for just my marble feet Could keep a Chancel, cool- “ (1-8) The progression of these discoveries that Dickinson sets up are very rational. The first observation is her own existence for “It was Not Death”, and then the daytime by what hears in “the Bells/Put out their Tongues, for Noon.”, and feels with the “Siroccos – crawl –“. Dickinson uses this technique to contrast what the speaker’s actual situation is, which is filled with bleakness and despair, qualities that would not normally evoke rational behavior. The speaker seems to be going through the motions like clockwork as she describes her situation in the same 1 Indecipherable as to what the gender is, so the speaker will be in a female voice throughout the paper way that “…Everything that ticked – has stopped –“(17). Even the dashes that straddle “has stopped” creates the same effect of a constant beat, which emphasizes the fact that what once had...
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2012 for the course ENGLISH 124 taught by Professor Peck during the Fall '10 term at University of Michigan.
- Fall '10