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Analysis and comments on 'Twas just this time, last year, I died. by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 7 of 87, added on April 3rd, 2007 at 1:51 AM.

Richard Brevans below writes, "You notice the word "tassels" to describe
the yellow corn, thats strange" There's nothing strange about it. That's
exactly what corn tassels are called and de-tasseling the corn is something
rural children used to do to prevent cross polination -- something I'm sure
Dickinson knew all about.

ea
Comment 6 of 87, added on April 2nd, 2007 at 10:26 PM.

I got a different view while reading it. I kept thinking how everyone wants
people to miss them after they are gone... it shows that they were loved
and important. But then I think Emily realized that if people missed her
all the time things would be miserable- her stocking wouldn't be filled,
her plate at the table would be empty... so instead she focused on that
they would all be reunited one day anyways and there is no need for them to
miss her as much as she may deserve.

jess from Canada
Comment 5 of 87, added on April 28th, 2006 at 4:29 PM.

This poem is really a nasty attack by Dickinson on the Puritan-type
education and upbringing she had. But its all in a kind of code. You
notice the word "tassels" to describe the yellow corn, thats strange, and
combined with the color red in the next verse, and you realize that she's
making fun of her Puritan college, Mount Holyoke, whose school colors are
red and yellow. So the students are just like rows and rows of corn
wearing their graduation caps with tassels, that's what she thinks of them,
that they are like dumb vegetables. Then the other thing in the poem is
the line about her father multiplying the plates, which is a reference to a
Thanksgiving ceremoney of the Puritans, where they would start handing
around a plate with food on it once the whole town got together, and then
people would take out plates with food they had brought, secretly, and so
after a while there would be lots and lots plates in the room. It was
supposed to be like an episode in the Bible, where one basket of bread fed
everybody in a miracle. This ceremoney was called "multiplying the
plates," and so when the father does this it seems good at first, but then
you realize that he is missing the speaker "least". The speaker is hurt
that her father, of all people, misses her least, and that he cares more
about virtual strangers at these public meetings, where he's passing out
plates of food, than he does about her. So all in all the Puritans come
across as stupid conformity lovers, like rows of standing corn, or really
heartless people who say they love Jesus but don't even care about their
own family members.

Richard Bevans from United States
Comment 4 of 87, added on December 5th, 2005 at 8:52 AM.

On first reading I thought that the poem was actually Dickinson taking on
this persona of a child that has died, as the objects that this child
remembers are things that children notice e.g. tasesls and christmas
stockings etc. But perhaps the most sinister thing about this poem is how
at the end, the child says they will come to her. Her family after they
die, not to heaven or God. Ort to see her again and be one one big happy
family, but to her. It sounds like a self-centered and selfish child and
even worse a evil presence. As by saying to her, it sounds as if shes about
to eat them or something. But thats just my opnion.

Natascha from United Kingdom
Comment 3 of 87, added on January 30th, 2005 at 9:10 AM.

I thought one of the most significant points of the poem was that on
carefully reading it appears she is talking about the corn,apple,
pumpkin,stockings i.e.representations of the seasons, and thanksgiving and
christmas and such in terms of missing her and not people emphasised by the
'which'(not who) would miss her 'least' (and not most). Furthermore along
this thought trail, she scorns the celebrations; particularly christmas. In
conclusion I thought it possible that she refers to the end of belief
(either from universal death or secularisation) which would ultimately
result in the demise of such celebrations i.e. 'themselves should come to
me'.

Zahida from United Kingdom
Comment 2 of 87, added on November 18th, 2004 at 8:28 PM.

The most poignant part of this poem for me is the change in consciousness
the dead soul undergoes. At first s/he wants to jump out of her own
funeral procession to rejoin colorful life. Then she tinks about how
people will, or perhaps will not, miss her. But finally a year later she
turns her thoughts around -- from how much she misses life or will be
missed by life to how she will welcome other souls as they join her in
their shared new existence.

Doug North from United States
Comment 1 of 87, added on November 17th, 2004 at 9:12 AM.

Peyser! Its me Conan! You are makin your kids read Dickinson again, come on
Peyeser, do you want me to give you another swirly?!

Conan O Brien

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Information about 'Twas just this time, last year, I died.

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 445. 'Twas just this time, last year, I died.
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 366 times


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