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Analysis and comments on The Soul selects her own Society by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 25 of 535, added on August 25th, 2008 at 12:06 AM.

Titled 'Exclusion' in the 1890 edition cf
(source Wikipedia note the beautiful cover and flowers) but suspect editors
and not Emily. There are significant textual variation in the surviving
manuscript (source Respresentative Poetry Online) and in particular the
first stanza would read 'The soul selects her own society / Then shuts the
door / To her divine majority / Present no more' which reads quite
differently!

One comment here calls it a beautiful love poem and I think that it is a
love poem might well be so: it's certainly miraculously beautiful and
extraordinarily evocative in its imagery.

I do read it as 'Exclusion' myself though not quite exactly that. Last
verse has been suggested read as oyster (bivalve) clamming shut and on the
whole agree but note also that 'valves' can also be the valves of the heart
thus heart turned to stone supporting love poem reading. The whole point of
poetry of course is you are allowed to read it as both ...

Note door/more was a half ryhme in Emily's time.

Enterprising students looking for a theme for a term paper might like to
track down a somewhat obscure comment in Kierkegaard's diary (?) I noted 30
years back but can't find now. The idea is of stigma as a personal choice
accepting isolation as a sacrifice to preserve quite what I can't remember
presumably self-authenticity sort thing i.e. in analogy to the botanical
function of the stigma [OED 6]. Also idolatry / narcissism in the frame
there I think. Good luck no need to cite but do PLEASE email me the source
if you can find it!

Love this poem. Looked at it again after long time away on reading
"Arcturus" and it was just as fresh as always.

William Boyd from United Kingdom
Comment 24 of 535, added on May 29th, 2008 at 11:03 AM.

I like this poem its kind of diffucult too understand. An thats what i like
about it, And some of you other comment posters are conceited an dumb,
sorry but you sound like idiots.

kristen from United States
Comment 23 of 535, added on June 14th, 2007 at 12:16 AM.

In my opinion some of you guys are really bad at interpreting. This is poem
is not even about love! It is about religion, faith, and
transcendenality...whatever i dont know what the word is. Think about her
father and how religious he was and how he forced her to be religious.

iknoweverything
Comment 22 of 535, added on April 23rd, 2007 at 12:55 PM.

this poem is very complicated. very very very very very very very very very
VERY hard to understand but i still got it

nathaniel smith from United States
Comment 21 of 535, added on December 29th, 2006 at 12:00 PM.

This poem is really cool.The mary-kate and ashley movie uses this poem in
Holiday in the Sun.

Rita from United States
Comment 20 of 535, added on May 1st, 2006 at 8:30 PM.

In this particular poem, Dickinson is commenting on how selective humans
tend to be with the people and situations they associate themselves with.
In the first quatrain, Dickinson makes note on how once the soul "selects
her own society" (line 1), the rest of the world is shut out and the soul
refuses to dance with any other groups. In the second quatrain, Dickinson
writes on how even when incredible circumstances come upon one, the soul
remains "unmoved" (line 7). Dickinson concludes the poem by reiterating the
theme that the soul has the ability to choose whatever domain or friends
they want; it's getting the soul to allow change that's difficult.

MEHMET KURT from Turkey
Comment 19 of 535, added on May 1st, 2006 at 8:24 PM.

In this particular poem, Dickinson is commenting on how selective humans
tend to be with the people and situations they associate themselves with.
In the first quatrain, Dickinson makes note on how once the soul "selects
her own society" (line 1), the rest of the world is shut out and the soul
refuses to dance with any other groups. In the second quatrain, Dickinson
writes on how even when incredible circumstances come upon one, the soul
remains "unmoved" (line 7). Dickinson concludes the poem by reiterating the
theme that the soul has the ability to choose whatever domain or friends
they want; it's getting the soul to allow change that's difficult.

MEHMET from Turkey
Comment 18 of 535, added on March 20th, 2006 at 10:53 AM.

One poem that really caught my attention was poem #303. In my opinion the
speaker of the poem, “ The Soul selects her own Society,” refers to a
person who decides to close the door of her heart eternally to others
because the person he/she truly loves (her society of one person) is gone,
not longer by her side, perhaps dead. Therefore he/she wants to embrace
that prior lover and let no other replace it. “Unmoved she- notes the
Chariots- pausing” here the speaker perchance means that many will come at
her door but none will have the privilege to enter only to stand by. The
“Emperor” possibly means those waiting to have a chance for her door to
unlock. But indifferent of the pain she might cause others and herself she
decides to eternally “then-close the Valves of her attention Like Stone”
and to continue with her life.


Derin from United States
Comment 17 of 535, added on March 2nd, 2006 at 7:30 AM.

In this poem ,emily refors "King",a person who has appeared ih some of her
poems.So,why "king"is present for many times ?

Maggie Trees from China
Comment 16 of 535, added on February 24th, 2006 at 11:53 AM.

This poem is a love poem. It is about selecting a soul mate, someone who
becomes a "society of one" to the individual who does the selecting. Emily
choose her society of one, and then "closed the valves (her heart) to any
futher suitors. She made her heart "like stone" to any and all who came to
her "low Gate" to impress her. When she found her true love, she had no
room in her society for anyone else. Anyone who has ever really been in
love knows this is the case of those who find the "society" of the one they
choose to be enough and turns the valves of attention to stone so that no
one else can be addmitted to her society. It is a beautiful love poem.

Richard from United States

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Information about The Soul selects her own Society

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 303. The Soul selects her own Society
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 848 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 2 2008


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By: Emily Dickinson

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