A Deeper Meaning In Emily Dickinson’s Poems

Poems are read by many for their personal entertainment and often rhyme. As such, these poems may also have a deeper meaning that only fewer people bother to seek out. Along with this, there is also an inevitable theme that lies within each and every poem made by one author merging all of their ideas into one. With this, two authors have made a series of poems that may have a depth far below the surface or literal meaning of them. Along with the meaning, the authors that made them also left an intended or even unpurposeful hint that all of their poems share.

The first of these two authors is Emily Dickinson. To begin, Emily Dickinson has written several poems, the first of which to be analyzed being “Because I could not stop for Death”. The tone of the poem at first glance is quite light-hearted as it talks about how, “We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain” (p. 1) and, “We passed the Setting Sun” (p. 1) both of which are calming things. However, she has hidden a message in this poem, most easily identified by her usage of capitalization. We can look at the title for this as she capitalized the word “death” in her title.

She also gives more evidence toward this figure in her first stanza when she said, “He kindly stopped for me-” (p. 1). Capitalization of otherwise inanimate objects or ideas and the usage of them conducting humanly actions are the two most obvious signs of personification, implying that in this case, death is a person. Further in the poem, it talks more about what Death does, “We slowly drove- He knew no haste” (p. 1). This means that Death is taking her somewhere, a common assumption to many about the afterlife.

In this case, there is only one question to ask about it; to where is Death taking her? The next stanza talks about how, “We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess- in the Ring-” (p. 1). More quotes that arrived later in the story tell more about what this ride really is, such as the destination, “Were toward Eternity” (p. 1). The only eternity that we as humans know is the afterlife. This information is comparing her death as a ride or short passage when she sees life as a nice and beautiful thing before she arrives at eternity.

One last thing that references the fact that this is a travel to the afterlife is a house mentioned before they reached their destination. As described in the poem, “We paused before a House” (p. 1). Since there is no other time that Death stopped at in this journey, he must want her to pay special attention to this house. Further on, “The Roof was scarcely visible- The Cornice- in the Ground-” (p. 1). Even though this is quite apparent through many other quotes, capitalization is again at play here. This house may represent the judgement to go to heaven or hell as mentioned in Christianity.

The roof represent heaven and is scarcely visible due to its high position and the Cornice is hell, so far into the punishments of the dead representing the ground that it’s also not visible. She can remain on Earth, or take her judgement whenever she wants. The second poem she wrote is called “I heard a Fly Buzz – When I died”. The same rules apply for her last poem for this poem as well. The fly and it buzzing obviously mean something in this poem as they are capitalized, giving us an obvious clue. The first stanza talks about how distracting the fly really is.

It says that there was a, “stillness round my form Was like the stillness in the air Between the heaves of storm. ” (p. 2) These give the reader a good sense of how the room feels by using imagery. This is also generally saying that the room was of still nature and silent behavior making the fly’s buzzing that much more emphasizing. She was also doing a task before this happened, “I willed my keepsakes, signed away” (p. 2). She also mentions this fly buzzing once again, “and then There interposed a fly,” (p. 2).

Finally, she ends off with, “With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz, Between the light and me;” (p. 2). With this information we can infer that the fly is her sins from her lifetime and the buzzing is the constant reminding of them. We infer this as these are among the many things people think of directly before death. The reason that the fly is sin specifically is because it went between her and light. The final poem that Emily wrote was “I never saw a Moor”. Just like the other ones, the fact that the word “moor” is capitalized means it may be an allegory for something else.

The poem itself is another reference to death, as she says, “I never spoke with God, Nor visited in heaven. Yet certain I am of the spot As if the checks were given. ” (p. 3) The previous stanza also talks about how she’d never seen a moor yet she knows how the flowers look. These are all referring to that she never saw the joys of life yet she is certain that she is going to see them in heaven since she was certain of the spot. In addition, all of her poems are binded together by her ideas of death.

As you may see in all of her poems, she talks about how she thinks death is, the benefits and downfalls of it, as well as what would happen afterward. The next author to inspect is Robert Frost. The first poem of his to analyze is called “The Road Not Taken”. He is a different person from Emily, therefore the ideas of capitalization for emphasis do not apply to him or his poems. This poem describes him as a traveler traveling down a road when he comes to a split in the road. The roads are very different as described in his poem, “Because it was grassy and wanted wear,” (p. ) and “Had worn them really about the same,” (p. 4).

These two paths could represent and actually are a choice that one can make in their life. It also says that, “long I stood and looked down one as far as I could” (p. 4) and “both that morning equally lay” (p. 4) these referring to how given the most difficult choices in life, people often analyze the situation but are unable to differentiate their choices. He uses plenty of adjectives which suggest imagery and very well differentiate how both of the choices are. Finally, he said, “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. (p. 4)

This is telling us that if we make the choices that most people make, we can expect the outcome that most people get, but if we take our own path, then we will get an outcome that makes the difference in our life, whether it be for the better or for the worse. The next of Mr. Frost’s poems is called “Fire and Ice”. This is a debate between whether the world would end in fire or ice. From the title, it’s quite obvious that he uses juxtaposition in the surface of the poem. In the poem, he makes obvious relations to what fire and ice represent.

Fire represents desire when he said, “From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. ” (p. 5) Ice represents hate when he said, “I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice. ” (p. 5) This is mentioning that he believes that the world could end in one of two ways, it could end by individual pursuit of desire or it could end by humanity’s hatred for eachother. It’s also natural that desire ensues most people, for even the author is on the side of desire in this case. After reading two of his poems, it is still quite unclear on what his common theme is.

The next and perhaps lengthiest of the poems is “Home Burial”. For the sake of summarization, Home Burial is about how a father buried his son in the yard of a home and sees no wrong it that, but his wife does. Several things to take notice of are the wife, the husband, the mound of their child’s grave, and several other graves. In the beginning, it is almost as if the man takes no notice to the graves, until one day of looking, he does notice them. He directly mentions this by saying, “I never noticed it from here before. ” (p. 6) The woman’s grief is also shown through her exclamations, “Not you!

Oh, where’s my hat? Oh, I don’t need it! I must get out of here. ” (p. 6) The words and the way the man act are also offensive due to their nonchalant behavior, such as, “Can’t a man speak of his own child he’s lost? ” (p. 6) and, “My words are nearly always an offense. ” (p. 7) With this information I conclude that these people represent the emotions and functions of one person as a whole. Each piece clicks together in almost perfect uniform. The woman in the story represents the emotional reactions that every person has while the man is the part of everyone that suppress their emotions and memories.

Speaking of memories, the child that is spoken of in the poem is an example of a memory, that and all of the other graves. The child is just more important, as he is on a mound and the man also mentions the, “Broad-shouldered little slabs there in the sunlight On the sidehill. We haven’t to mind those. ” (p. 6) The part of everyone that is the man tries to suppress emotion by burying the memories that cause them. Something that even he is worried about is a quote he said after burying the child, “Three foggy mornings and one rainy day Will rot the best birch fence a man can build. (p. 8)

With this, the quote is obviously an allegory describing another job the man has that is to build up a defense against emotional change, in this case it is the birch fence. This quote is saying that three negative events where the future is unsure, this being the foggy mornings, and one bad day, entirely representing the rainy day, can destroy the defense that he sets up. The final thing that the man does is his threat to the woman when the woman threatens to leave. He says that, “I’ll follow and bring you back by force. I will! -”.

With this is a threat to harm or kill one’s self and that if emotions get out of control, that he would bury them away and the person, presumably the author, would become emotionless. The last poem that we analyze of Robert Frost’s is “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy evening. Right in the beginning we can already make the comparison that Frost has already mentioned ice before in his “Fire and Ice” poem. In that poem, ice represented hate and since he is the same person that wrote both poems we can already make the conclusion that this idea may very well carry across to this one as well.

The next thing to know is how ice is used in this poem. First thing to know is that these woods are not necessarily his. This is easily explained by the first two lines, “Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though;” (p. 9) These woods this time could be the embodiment of hate, as those who hate don’t reside within their own hate. The next thing to see is that he has a mode of transportation, a horse. This horse is more wary than he is, as, “My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near” (p. 9) and how, “He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. (p. 9) Another thing that causes wariness toward someone is doubt.

So now, as he travels through the embodiment of hatred, he rides along his doubts. Finally, he mentions how, “I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep,” (p. 9). One thing to know is that people usually sleep under very cold conditions. So, he may rest under the stress of constant hatred, and the promises he made were promises to escape the hatred of the world and return to his normal life. He even mentions the last quote twice, which is parallelism, to reiterate the importance of the last thing he said.

With all of this information at hand, we can conclude that Robert’s poems are all about choices. In “The Road Not Taken” it’s the two roads that are literally a life choice. In the story, “Fire and Ice” it is the choice on how the world would end. In the “Home Burial” the choice lies in whether or not the man is right or the woman is right in what they assume. Finally, the latest theme in “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening” the theme carries over by the choice of going into the forest or stopping under the weight of the winter.