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Analysis and comments on Much Madness is divinest Sense by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 20 of 60, added on May 18th, 2007 at 12:15 PM.

Much Madness = Truth with a capital "T".
Divinest Sense = The ability to see Truth amidst distracting voices,
sights, and sound.
Much Sense = Whatever society deems of worth (good, bad, and ugly).
The Starkest Maddness = Accolades for that which socially "makes sense" is
madness (Emperor's New Clothes? 7 immediate golden globe nominations for a
movie about gay cowboys with explicit scenes?)
The rest of the poem follows reason: Assent and you are part of the group.
Demur and one finds oneself ostracized or marked as dangerous (Read 1984 or
Brave New World for more on this).

Emerson said: It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion, it
is easy in solitude to live after one's own. But great is the man who in
midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of
solitude.



titima from Morocco
Comment 19 of 60, added on March 28th, 2007 at 7:41 PM.

Well, I think this poem can be seen as Dickinson's response to people who
think she is insane. Basically the poem is saying that it's always up to
the majority of people to decide what is sanity and what is not, and once
they determine you're insane, you'll be "handled with a Chain--". The
majority isn't necessarily right all the time, but still, as individual,
you cannot be accepted unless you agree with them. This poem seems like a
hidden complaint about the unfairness of general society of not attempting
to understand and appreciate Emily; it's also like a rebellion, pointing
out that sometimes the world could be so harsh with individuals to repress
them.

Weichen from China
Comment 18 of 60, added on April 25th, 2006 at 4:47 PM.

It seems that this poem is all about thinking apart from the crowd. Or in
other words not conforming. The poem does not appear to be difficult to
understand.

Lets take a look
"Much madness is the divinest sense to a discerning eye"

In other words, it's mad to do what society would call "the divinest
sense".

"Much Sense the starkest madness, Tis the Majority"

The majority's "much sense" is actually Mad (crazy or insane).

"In this as all prevail, assent and you are sane"
Society appears to rule, and the majority will win, if you agree with them,
then you are not labeled crazy.

"Demure (disagree or dissent) you're straightaway dangerous and handled
with a chain"

If one disagrees with society, or the norm, what has been established by
the majority, they are percieved as a threat, and persecuted.




Tim from United States
Comment 17 of 60, added on April 23rd, 2006 at 12:06 AM.

What is supposed to be sane oftentimes is so much against our grain, our
silent spirit, but we do not take the time or the stillness to ask
ourselves,"is this right" because we are told it is. No thinking required.
Maybe we like it that way.(^>^)

There are 2 kinds of "madness" There is that kind which is characterized by
deviating from the norm because of what you have thought through and belive
according to your principles,(I would call this following intuition even
aginst the grain) ANd then, there is that other tragic madness when you can
not control the way you think or how the thoughts run wild in your head.
Who knows if the 2nd type is really divine sense. If so, then it is a most
destructive and painful thing to have such a sense. And if it indeed devine
and painful then doesn't that make the sufferer akin to the christ figure
in some ways...to suffer to bring devine sense to the world as some people
with schizophrenia may belive?

Aneeta from Pakistan
Comment 16 of 60, added on April 19th, 2006 at 8:52 PM.

well how do you know that the speaker does not believe that the majoriyt is
correct and how do the last five lines of the poem extend the subject
beyond a contrast between sanity and insanity


kaila from United States
Comment 15 of 60, added on February 13th, 2006 at 4:02 PM.

mi poem es so good... i love it and i want to be like mily so much.... I
love you emily....

hasbweka from Uzbekistan
Comment 14 of 60, added on January 28th, 2006 at 9:49 AM.

This poem is one of the easiest Emily Dickinson poems to understand. In a
nutshell it says that if you go along with the "norm" and try to act as
society says you should, that you are losing your soul and your originality
altogether. On top of that, society is judging you and you're "handled
with a chain." Beautiful work, Emily. This means SO much to so many
people who are not Donna Reed.

Dan from United States
Comment 13 of 60, added on January 9th, 2006 at 11:49 AM.

I have found this poem to be compelling and rich! I was deeply moved by the
sincerity of Ms. Dickinson's interpretation of life. God bless that woman.

Courtney Dayhuff from Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan)
Comment 12 of 60, added on December 29th, 2005 at 3:20 PM.

Much Madness = Truth with a capital "T".
Divinest Sense = The ability to see Truth amidst distracting voices,
sights, and sound.
Much Sense = Whatever society deems of worth (good, bad, and ugly).
The Starkest Maddness = Accolades for that which socially "makes sense" is
madness (Emperor's New Clothes? 7 immediate golden globe nominations for a
movie about gay cowboys with explicit scenes?)
The rest of the poem follows reason: Assent and you are part of the group.
Demur and one finds oneself ostracized or marked as dangerous (Read 1984
or Brave New World for more on this).

Emerson said: It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion,
it is easy in solitude to live after one's own. But great is the man who
in midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of
solitude.




Matt from United States
Comment 11 of 60, added on December 1st, 2005 at 11:29 PM.

After reading this several (probably 50) times, I finally came to the
conclusion as to what it is about...Emily is defining that chaos (madness)
is natural (from God, divine). The only way to overcome that chaos is to
stick together (as All, prevail). When you "assent," you concur with the
general idea, and you are therefore "sane." When you "demur," you object,
and you are therefore "dangerous," and should be punished. All she is
saying that if we ban together (which it all relates back to her
Puritan-ish background and to the ideal utopia of a "city upon a hill with
all eyes upon us"), then we can overcome any adversity that confronts us.

Alex Harris from United States

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Information about Much Madness is divinest Sense

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 435. Much Madness is divinest Sense
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 1523 times
Poem of the Day: Feb 21 2002


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