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Analysis and comments on It was not Death, for I stood up, by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 19 of 279, added on April 10th, 2011 at 6:04 AM.
"It was not death for I stood up" Analysis


I got the analysis from the following source:
iheardaflybuzzwhenidied.wordpress.com


The narrator’s ratiocination of her emotional landscape forms the argument
of this poem as she persists in establishing an understanding of her
anguish or “it” with imagery relating to death, darkness, cold and heat.
The narrator ruminates upon her present psychological frame of mind as she
logically eliminates possible states of being (being dead, in night, in
winter, being burnt by fire) that could account for her emotions. Her
reasoning is as below: She is not dead as she could stand and the dead
could not. The darkness that swallows her up is not night as she could hear
the afternoon bells “put(ting) out their tongues”/ringing. The coldness
that she felt is not “frost” as she could feel “siroccos” (A hot, dry wind
) ‘crawl on her flesh’. The heat or burning sensation is not ‘fire’ for her
“marble (cold) feet” could keep cool the passionate choir singing and
warm-blooded clergy preaching.
Yet, she “taste them all”- the agony of death, darkness and the extremes of
coldness and heat. She is reminded of her own death by the ‘figures’ she
has seen getting prepared for burial in which she imagined herself to be,
too, imprisoned in the frame of a coffin and getting ready for burial
“shaven” of all things merry and “fitted to a frame” rigid, confined and
“could not breathe without a key”. The key in this case might be the
freedom in contrast to her confinement, hope in contrast to the death of
hope, understanding in contrast to the lack of understanding of her current
state of being. And in extension of the imagery of darkness, she pictures
herself as very dead of the night/midnight- being in infinite darkness.
When time stops and isolation in which she feels small with “space”
“staring all around” sets in. Or the desolation she felt with the macabre
“frost”/ice and the leaves from “first autumn mornings” that “repeals”
/cover and eliminates the “beating ground”; A feeling that smothers her
beating heart. But finally, she concludes that it is mostly like being in a
state of evolutionary, chaotic flux, “stopless” and “cool”; like being in
the endless and cold sea after a psychological shipwreck in which nothing ,
“a chance” or “spar” (a strong pole used for a mast) or “report of land”
could save her; not even a shimmer of hope in finding her “key”.



Kay Lies from Singapore
Comment 18 of 279, added on March 24th, 2011 at 9:57 AM.
idiots

you guys are gay ass bitches who lick camal toe go get a life. hahahahaha.
but forreal

bethani from United States
Comment 17 of 279, added on February 18th, 2010 at 5:17 PM.
dumbuttss

everybody here are a bunch of idiots.she is reffering to death.explaining
how it feels.

angie from United Kingdom
Comment 16 of 279, added on January 24th, 2010 at 10:41 AM.

Oh, okay okay, I get it now! So she's talking about how sad she is to see
all the dead around her, and she's describing the feeling inside her by
saying what it isn't but feels almost like. For instance: "It was not
Death, for I stood up," but other than that, it could've been death. Does
that make sense? Thx for the help!

Abi from United States
Comment 15 of 279, added on November 24th, 2009 at 11:12 AM.

THIS IS THE BEST POEM EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Estella OldHam
Comment 14 of 279, added on October 29th, 2009 at 6:25 PM.

She's talking about how hard it is to describe this "it" which we only find
out to be despair at the end. She says everything that it isn't and then
some things that it is, but the only good explanation is the word itself,
"despair".

Leah from United States
Comment 13 of 279, added on April 13th, 2007 at 12:40 PM.

This poem talks about how the speaker felt when she was having an illness
and can't describe it you jackasses!!!

Julio from United States
Comment 12 of 279, added on February 5th, 2007 at 7:57 AM.

I think this poem is about how you feel like you have died when someone
close to you dies. Your life is no longer complete "shaven
away"...everything stops. you watch your life go by but YOU aren't really
in it or experiencing it

Laura from United States
Comment 11 of 279, added on March 17th, 2006 at 7:13 PM.

Chancel is actually the part of the church that contains the choir and
sanctuary.

Stephanie from United States
Comment 10 of 279, added on February 23rd, 2006 at 10:09 PM.

You are all wrong. This poem was written in 1862. This is the same year
that Reverend Wadsworth moved away with his wife to L.A. Her greatest works
of poetry were written during this year, and most were written about him.
(Wadsworth was the man she fell in love with). It is describing the kind of
death that she experienced when he left. She knows she's not dead because
she cand "stand" and the dead "lie down", she is not cold with "frost"
because in chancel (a type of shawl)she feels warmth. She describes later
that a part of her life or a part of her has been "shaven" away. This again
refering to Wadsworth. She is "fitted to a frame" or confined and alone.
Then goes on to say that he is the "key" to her life or "breath". Compares
the way she feels to a cold, still, dark night. She feels this way even
though "the bells put out their tongues, for noon". In the last stanza it
is refering to his trip to L.A. by ocean. "Chaotic" because she cannot stop
him ("stopless"). cool- water. without change- middle of ocean... spar,
ocean water... no report of land, cannot see him, does not know where he
is, etc. And this in her justifies "despair". Even though she feels as if
she could die, or is experiencing all of these death like feelings-- she is
still living, life will continue, tomorrow will come.

Brittney from United States

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Information about It was not Death, for I stood up,

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 510. It was not Death, for I stood up,
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 17975 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 10 2002


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