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

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Comment 14 of 64, 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 64, 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 64, 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

Matt from United States
Comment 11 of 64, 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
Comment 10 of 64, added on October 13th, 2005 at 11:49 AM.

Wo, guys. This poem is really hard to understand. I'm not the native
speeker of English, so it's a real challenge for me to understand it.
Well, I have no right to chose.... I need to present it tomorrow to my
I'll try. thanks for your comments about the poem!

Julija from Lithuania
Comment 9 of 64, added on May 1st, 2005 at 3:19 PM.

This powerful poem is the true epitiome of society. It reflects the
volitile reaction of a close-minded society to one's objection to a common
belief. Dickson clearly felt society scorn in her lifetime, as is clearly
read in this poem.

Comment 8 of 64, added on March 11th, 2005 at 10:01 AM.

This was so toching i loved it man i admire her so much, i cant wait to see
her live at collage station next month. man i am going to read somemore
about her type later!

monica delone from United States
Comment 7 of 64, added on February 16th, 2005 at 10:58 PM.

the way this poem is so difrent for mi is because this poem has become in
mi life so in the way of mi teacher mr linquis and que realy loves his poem
so we have to make a essay about it......

eduardo from Mexico
Comment 6 of 64, added on February 1st, 2005 at 11:43 PM.

this poem is all about conformity of people in a society... simply put--it
reminds me of Lois Lowry's THE GIVER...

Jo from United States
Comment 5 of 64, added on December 11th, 2004 at 9:59 PM.

This poem was difficult the first time reading it but it began to unfold as
I read it more. I think this is Dickinson's insight to her our life and how
people viewed her. She seemed almost crazy the way she rarely left the
house but it could be that the rest our the world is mad. The way people
follow trends and beliefs systems just to keep from being labeled is mind
boggling enough. It's no wonder why half of us aren't locked up "and
handled with a chain".

Sarah 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: 3426 times
Poem of the Day: Feb 21 2002

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