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Analysis and comments on Success is counted sweetest by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 17 of 357, added on April 4th, 2006 at 1:20 AM.

Alright, this poem isn't exactly hard to grasp. Taylor pretty much covered
it all. I must say that the Purple Heart idea, though a neat idea, is wrong
on account of the time gap between the writing of Emily Dickenson and the
appearance of the Purple Heart as a decoration of honor. Dickenson wrote
Poem 67 ("Success is counted sweetest...") around 1859. The Purple Heart
didn't come into service until 1917. It is also interesting to note that
the poem was written before the Civil War, which began in 1861. As for the
purple host then, purple has always been a sign of royalty and success, so
the purple host could then mean the succussful portion of the populace.

Aaron from United States
Comment 16 of 357, added on April 3rd, 2006 at 3:00 PM.

I have taken the time to break down the three stanzas of Emily Dickinson's
poem and have come to multiple conclusions about them all. But all of them
have the same basic message, in any way you interpret it.

The first stanza gives you a mix of messages, and doesnt bluntly come out
and say anything of what you should be processing about the message and the
poem itself, but once you understand the poem and if you look closely you
realize that she is telling you exaclty what she wants you to get out of
this poem. She shares her interpretation of success in the first few lines,
and then elaborates on it more throughout the next few stanzas.
It is telling you that success is meaningful to those who do not get it
often. They are able to appreciate it more, than someone who is constantly
succeeding in life.

Stanza two elaborates more on where she understands this from.
The appretiation of success is not being brought out through the winner;
they do not care as much because they are used to succeeding and believe
they will have more success to come. They do not realize how much they
have because its never been takin away from them.

The last stanza doesnt necessarily sum it all up which confuses you and
leaves you pondering the whole message, but it does end her thought process
so that you can somewhat see what she is meaning through this.]
The one who has lost (or did not succeed) can hear the winner gloat and is
getting frustrated and hurt inside. The winner is holding the triumph on
the outside but being "sympathetic" while all along the loser can tell and
see that they do not understand the true value and happiness that they have
just earned.

I believe this poem relates to a game, in a sense that they have a flag,
and when they retrieve the falg from the obstacles surrounding them, they
have succeeding with triumph. (This game could relate you back to something
such as capture the flag). Where as, you retrieve the flag from the people
surrounding you and trying to grab a hold of you while you stand strong
just to tear you and your hopes down ... just as people do when they are
looking for succession wether it is earned or only gained by nothing.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone else's opinions about this poem,
the relationship of this poem to the war, and purple hearts, like a purple
host, is extraordinary. It really made you think and put yourself in a
different position of the poem and determine new, and better
interpretations and meanings of the poem, and life itself from Emily
Dickinsons point of view.

Taylor from United States
Comment 15 of 357, added on February 23rd, 2006 at 7:59 AM.

correct me if im wrong i've just started studying poetry today, but isnt it
trying to say the winner didnt feel the success?? but the loser appreciates
success more even tho being triumphed... n e ways i hope im not too far off

danno from Australia
Comment 14 of 357, 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 357, 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 357, 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 357, 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 357, 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 357, 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 357, 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

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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: 2147 times

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