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Analysis and comments on Success is counted sweetest by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 14 of 344, added on January 30th, 2006 at 10:47 PM.

The second stanza truly is a tell-all to this poem, the purple host refers
to the Purple Heart, the flag possibly refers to the hoisting of a flag
after a victory. Those who can best define sucess are those who have
suffered the most for it, and this is the message I believe Emily is trying
to get across.

Steven from United States
Comment 13 of 344, added on January 10th, 2006 at 6:09 PM.

Different writing styles and various literary devices are used by
the author to distinguish the
themes in the poem. The first stanza is emphasized with punctuation and
hyperboles. This stanza
is telling the reader general information about success which can be
applied to any context. The
opening line used, “Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er
succeed.”, gives the reader
the feeling that any person who is striving for a goal, desires it the
most. In the next two lines, the
reader is asked to remember the sweetness of success and that it is only
obtained through the
“sorest need.” “Sweetest,” and “sorest,” are hyperboles which stress the
personal desire for
greatness. Success is pictured as nectar which represents immortality to
live on and is the first
clue that this poem is not just about the Civil War. There is no
punctuation in the second stanza.
This verse is the most significant of the poem. On face value, it is
describing the futility of the
Civil War since neither side wins when one country is at war with itself.
“Not one of all,” tells the
reader that neither side of this battle knew who the winner was. However
this stanza has three
words capitalized and they are, “Host,” “Flag,” and “Victory.” Again if the
poem is about the
Civil War, the Host is the image of the country, the Flag represents the
battle and the Victory
stands for the northern victor. If Dickinson is writing metaphorically,
these three words have
different meanings. The “Host,” may refer to God, the “Flag,” is your soul
as it goes onto
Heaven, and “Victory,” is the cry of angels that greet you. In the third
stanza punctuation re-
appears with the use of hyphens around the word dying and the exclamation
mark at the end. The
use of hyphens is to make the reader pause at the end of an assonance
phrase which emphasizes
the idea of dying. This could be the “defeated,” death of a soldier on
either side of the battle or
your own death at the end of your life. The literary devices used in the
last stanza are
personification and irony. Personification is used to describe the
“forbidden ear,” which prevents
the dying soldier to hear who won. The cry of victory is describe
ironically as “Burst agonized and
clear!” since triumph in battle should be a happy event and not painful.

Severen from Canada
Comment 12 of 344, added on January 6th, 2006 at 2:30 PM.

Life becomes so much sweeter for a person who is in love.

Lamar Cole from United States
Comment 11 of 344, added on November 13th, 2005 at 3:50 PM.

i agree w/ brad n the guy from iceland's comments regarding the poem...
people often take things for granted... a victory to a winner means
nothing, only the defeated can explain the success/happiness associated w/
a vitory... For example, a person accustomed to getting A's will not be as
grateful in receiving another "A" or even an "A-" as say someone who has
never received an "A."

naureen from United States
Comment 10 of 344, added on October 31st, 2005 at 7:30 PM.

Emily could have had success as a poet in her lifetime if she
chose...however...she chose "immortality"....she knew she was gifted and
preserved her physical identity which, in time to come, made her even more
mysterious and sought after...she was willing to lose the battle in order
to win the war...and she went for the whole enchilada...

Oliver Hageman from United States
Comment 9 of 344, added on October 6th, 2005 at 8:12 AM.

Well, when i first started reading this poem, i don't understand the really
meaning of it. But after i read it over and over again i sort of have ideas
what the meaning of this poem. Dickson present the idea of success that is
everyone have to face. It's not easy as we peel ripe banana. In fact, in
our life " Sucessful" is really meaningful and very chalenge to everyone.
Of course, this one word mean softer and sweeter but it's deepful meaning
doesn't presence as itself presence here.

anry from United States
Comment 8 of 344, added on May 4th, 2005 at 11:22 AM.

I think this poem is speaking of war time, and how the acheivement of
success often affects the "losers" more than the actual victors. To win is
a great thing, but to lose and keep trying is even greater.

Kelsey from United States
Comment 7 of 344, added on April 28th, 2005 at 1:02 PM.

I think this poem is a call to us all for "appreciation" of our successes,
our lives, and that which God gives us. The most successful don't always
"appreciate" it as much as those of us who toil every day to make ends
meet, yet find solice in small things; a child's smile, a small raise, a
freebie, a gift, etc.. The most successful might seem to appreciate it
because of the fine things they have, or the victor might seem to
appreciate it because he's still living and receives the accolades, but
most times they are just too used to it to actually appreciate it. Just ask
the man dying on the battlefield how much he appreciates life, much more
than the man celebrating with a cigar and waving his flag, I assure you.
All things that make life worth living are gifts, appreciate the small
things, even when they are few and far between. Appreciate them all as if
you'll never see them again, and appreciate those around you that don't
seem to find those small victories in life more than you admire the
celebrities, the rich and famous, and the victors.

Brad from United States
Comment 6 of 344, added on April 27th, 2005 at 5:28 PM.

In this poem I beleive Emily is describing success. It shows you that those
of us who acheive success aren't that focused on it. Because once you
defeat one stage there is always a step above it that your going to try to
beat next. However those of us who didn't reach success, cherish it more
because you don't have yet and your anticpating on that victorious moment.
So you keep striving for success.

Shadae from United States
Comment 5 of 344, added on February 15th, 2005 at 12:46 PM.

Dickinson sees achievement and success as being sweet and compares it to
one of the sweetest fruits of nature. She is respecting success by relating
it with something from nature, which is successful and perfect in her mind

Amber from United States

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Information about Success is counted sweetest

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 67. Success is counted sweetest
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 1376 times


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