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

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Comment 33 of 553, added on July 8th, 2010 at 11:03 AM.

We can be sovereign in our choice of friends.

frumpo from United States
Comment 32 of 553, added on April 23rd, 2010 at 9:49 AM.
This is about religion

If you read Emily Dickinson's biography you see that religion is seen in
the majority of her works only because she was rejected by it. She was
never able to chose a religion and thats why when she states " Then- shuts
the door- To her divine Majority" it means that she is shutting the door to
religion. She was a writer in the 19th century and relgion had a huge
impact in that time period. This poem is definitely not about love.

Zachkoren Torres from United States
Comment 31 of 553, added on February 27th, 2010 at 7:00 PM.
when it was written.

this poem was not written in the 1950's. It was written in the 1860's. She
was not even alive in the 1900's.

Kayla from United States
Comment 30 of 553, added on February 19th, 2010 at 7:44 PM.

to sherri,

ms dickinson was also very non-religious. so ask she suggests that the
"Soul" keeps herself form the "divine majority" means she excludes gods

this is a very ambiguous poem; there is more than one meaning.

cooks from United States
Comment 29 of 553, added on February 16th, 2010 at 10:51 PM.

way gay

Hui from United States
Comment 28 of 553, added on May 19th, 2009 at 8:15 PM.

First off, to the people who called others dumb, calling someone dumb is
dumb in itself. It shows immaturity. Note, I said the act of calling, not
the person who did the act of calling.

Now, here is my opinion on this poem.

The lexicons/words of which, Dickinson, chooses to use, show much quality
and outlook into today’s and past societies.

The soul is the spiritual principle embodied in human being, all rational
and spiritual beings, or the universe. Dickinson has the "soul" doing the
choosing. The soul is the one who chooses the outcome of its own way of
life, or society. A Society is a voluntary association of individuals for
common end.

The poem describes choosing a friend (or lover), and rejecting all others.
However, I see it, as choosing your crowd/gang of people to whom which you
will hang/associate with.

Dickinson presents the individual as absolute and the right of the
individual as unchallengeable.

To me the poem is about societies. Just like teenages would today choose a
crowd/gang to hang with, Dickinson wrote about choosing a society to belong

Yet, may I add as my finally post, that a person view is not limited by
what others say but by how wide they think. Everyone has a different view
on the outlook of things. As a test, I wrote a poem a few days ago. Then I
asked a few friends to tell me what they thought the poem meant. One friend
told me it represented water, and another said a lady, a beautiful lady.
While another said nature, and another said peach tree. The poem I wrote
was titled Lady Nature, because it compared nature to the beauty of the
sense. Usually I would have titled it Mother Nature, but Lady seemed more
fitting at the end, when I realized it seem to represent a lady OF nature.

This is my ending. Think about what I said and everyone said and come up
with your OWN point of view. Be bias.

Kori from United States
Comment 27 of 553, added on May 1st, 2009 at 1:16 AM.

I am writing a paper on this in my english class and the way i interpreted
it does not have to be about love. it can be about her blocking out
stereotypes of women in her time. "to her devine majority" suggests that
she sees the way society wants her to move as a women but "shuts the door"
to those norms. It is safe to say that it can be interpreted with another
meaning other than love.

poster from United States
Comment 26 of 553, added on February 12th, 2009 at 6:20 PM.

okay, how could this peom possibly be about religion ?
the people who interpretted it to be about love, are right .
emily fell in love twice in her lifetime, both times to guys who were
married, and could not possible live their lives with emily. this poem is
all about how she took those men "societies" and could not let any other
man in, no matter how adorable or credible their circumstances were.

LOVE POEM. - where is the religious part of this poem? i just dont get it.

Sherri from United States
Comment 25 of 553, 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

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 553, 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

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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: 4128 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 2 2008

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