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Analysis and comments on There's a certain Slant of light, by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 45 of 225, added on January 22nd, 2010 at 12:10 AM.

Ola B is right the slant of light is referring to depression or sadness not
hope. The light "hurts" and causes "internal difference". Dickenson also
infers that it is from God by saying it is an "imperial affliction sent us
of the air", and calling it "heavenly hurt".

Lauren
Comment 44 of 225, added on April 19th, 2009 at 11:49 PM.

It is important when reading an Author's poetry to consider his/her entire
collection of poetry. A close examination of much of Dickinson's poetry
shows that she had great doubts in organized religion. Another poem of hers
that demonstrates this well is #324 "Some keep the Sabbath going to
Church--/I keep it, staying at Home--" While that poem has a much more
upbeat, non-conformist tone (true to Emerson and Thoreau whom Emily read
and valued) The poem at hand also tells of her religious doubts. By
equating this "Slant of light" with the oppression of "Cathedral Tunes--"
and the "Heavenly Hurt" is gives us, she's expressing her doubts in
religion and possibly even God. Further, the "internal difference... Where
the Meanings, are--" in which "None may teach" also return to an Emersonian
sense of Self-Reliance. The ability to turn inward and break free from
societally induced ideas, morals and roles is actually what is necessary to
ascend. In the last stanza "it" comes and the "Shadows--hold their
breath--" when "it" leaves "tis like the Distance/On the look of Death".
"It" is the slant of light that has given the heavenly hurt, and by
associating "it" with death Dickinson is expressing her own feelings of
loss, isolation and maybe even confusion as she continues to search for
truth and elevation and has yet to do so successfully. The gloominess that
ends this poem is true to her genre and those who've written before her
(Melville, Poe) and connects to the idea that all humans are flawed,
imperfect and incapable of breaking free of this cycle of human sin.

Emily from United States
Comment 43 of 225, added on February 16th, 2009 at 1:06 AM.

I have actually seen this light before although in my neck of the woods,
Bay Area, California, I usually see it in late fall. Each time I see it I
feel a nostalgic, ineffable sense of loss, of innocence, family and love
past, and I think of this poem. For Emily, and me, it is an ethereal
feeling that stirs in our heart and opens wounds for which there are no
scars. Emily describes this feeling as an illness that defies description,
can only be experienced and is delivered to us by the author of the
seasons. When it comes, and I have seen and felt this, the "landscape" is
silent, as if listening. There is no "breath" of wind to rustle the leaves
and branches of the trees that cast their shadows. And when it is gone,
whether it be the pitch black of night or the bright, brassy sun of day,
"tis like the distance on the look of death" from both sides of that
condition.




Dennis Paul Nutter from United States
Comment 42 of 225, added on January 18th, 2009 at 8:17 AM.

I highly doubt that this poem is about hope. I'm in a higher level IB
english class, and recently all we have been doing is analyzing poems by
Dickinson. This happens to be my second favorite, after "If you were coming
in the fall". I believe Dickinson is trying to put her feelings of
depression into words. Because it is a feeling, it is not easily put into
words, and so you cannot take the literal meanings when analyzing it.
Dickinson effectively communicates that even when depression leaves you, it
leaves a scar and it is almost as if there is no relief from it.

Lisa from Japan
Comment 41 of 225, added on November 20th, 2008 at 8:59 AM.

Let me tell you about the safest form of sex. It's when you're having sex
with ten different people and you're totally unprotected and taking
intervenus drugs.....no it's not true.....you gotta carry a weapon!!!

Tom Delonge from Turkey
Comment 40 of 225, added on November 19th, 2008 at 9:50 AM.

Tree had bear!? Smell the color four. OMG!! Everything tasted like
purple. You like to see homos naked.

Travis Barker from Zimbabwe
Comment 39 of 225, added on November 19th, 2008 at 9:40 AM.

I think there is big paynus being sucked in this poem! LET'S HEAR IT FOR
NOT WIPING! BRINGS DOWN THE RAIN FOREST!

Mark Hoppus from Fiji
Comment 38 of 225, added on June 18th, 2008 at 10:02 AM.

i feel its a sensational poem that came from the heart of the poet.although
the poet drifts into a depth of sadness, she is still full of hope..its
very inspiring. also the distancing between a person and death reduces and
we merges within.

tutu from India
Comment 37 of 225, added on February 27th, 2008 at 3:37 AM.

In the poem "There's a certain Slant of light", Emily Dickinson shows her
powerfulness in a poem about hope in one's life. Dickinson uses the
metaphor of 'Light on winter afternoons' to show how in the cold depths of
winter, there are still the hopes of spring. Just as Emily Dickinson must
have some deep personal hope within herself at trying times. This poem
leaves me with the impression that Dickinson is, on the surface a very
negative person, yet her problems reach deep inside. Dickinson seems to
find a little bit of hope in the simplest of forms. Emily Dickinson also
seems to be very interested th the thought of death, she needs to find it
within herself to accept the truth of death that everybody must face.

Sarah Reese from United States
Comment 36 of 225, added on February 25th, 2008 at 10:42 PM.

It's ironic that she would associate oppression with "Cathedral Tunes". She
portrays religious images in a negative light (no pun intended). It's not
just hurt, it's "Heavenly Hurt". Diction? I think so.
Unlike some of you have said, the last stanza, I do not believe she is
talking about death. The "it" is still about the "Slant of light"
Now if you think the light is death, substitude death for "it". It would
read:
"When death goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death-"
It makes no sense.
Others have also said that the light signifies hope. I don't believe that
either. It would be very strange to descrive hope as oppressive.

Anna from United States

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Information about There's a certain Slant of light,

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 258. There's a certain Slant of light,
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 1489 times
Poem of the Day: Aug 4 2002


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