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Analysis and comments on I started Early -- Took my Dog -- by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 26 of 386, added on November 18th, 2004 at 3:44 PM.

I feel this poem is about depression. As we all know Dickinson suffered
from depression and perhaps agoraphonia. The journey she takes in the poem
is not a one-day journey but a long searching and life changing one. She
starts out early (young) with her dog (a tie to earthly things) sees
Mermaids in the basement (depression), Grigates in the upper floor (others
who are not experiencing depression) and she feels like a mouse stuck in
the sand (little, insignificant, unable to move forward). No man (nothing)
could change her mood until the Tide came up and enveloped her (swallowed
her up - deeper and deeper into depression) as dew on a dandelions sleeve
(again insignificant, small, unable to fight) and she started to go with
the flow (death) but she didn't. The HE must be God since it is
capitalized. Thus God was the one that called her to a final rest-death.
She turned from "death" and walked away but the thought of death was still
on her mind (close behind on her heels). The shoes overflowing with pearls
could be like the parable of the oyster that had a grain of sand in his
shell that gave him much discomfort but over time turned into a pearl thus
her depression and whatever was the root of it caused her pain and
discomfort but she held on and finally the depression got better (on Solid
Town). God saw she was okay and bowed to her and left her alone.

sherry from United States
Comment 25 of 386, added on November 15th, 2004 at 1:30 PM.

This poem is great, but it is about Emily Dickinson having an orgasim. We
have spoken about this poem in my literature class and my professor as well
as the entire class agreed upon that what is happening to Dickinson in this
poem is that she is having an organism. But she does not know how to
explain it.

Evy from United States
Comment 24 of 386, added on October 27th, 2004 at 5:33 PM.

OK. I'm seeing this poem in a completely different way, and am in not way
saying that anyone is right nor wrong. When I read this poem I think that
Emily is talking about death, which quite a few of her poems are based
around. Also during her life she had many people she knew die around her
and around the age of 23 she committed herself to her room and practically
never came out. Authors writings tend to reflect they're lives aswell, so
I think that Emily's poem is talking about death. At the beginning of the
poem she seems to start her life, rather happily, like a normal person.
She sees some people, not necessarily like the people we see today, but
mermaids. Then she sees the frigate, which could be heaven, and its trying
to help her because in the whole scheme of things she is just a tinny
little thing, practically the size of an atom, if compared to the universe,
in this poem though she is called a mouse, and she is just another thing on
the earth. And the hands of the frigate are trying to force her to come
up to Heaven, hemp is course and rough, which show that the hands are
trying to force her to do something, but she wouldn't go, at least until
the tide came, posibbly an angel, but porbably not God himself. This
angel, or the tide, slowly started engulfing her, or rather taking her to
heaven, in essence, dying. Then it says, "And made as He would eat me up
--," 'he' is capitalized, which is a reference to God. The dew is relating
back to the ocean, which is so vast and huge, and she is just another small
part of it. Then she started, as in she started to live again almost as if
she had a near death experience. Once again 'he' is capitalized and He is
trying to get her to come with him, to keep going, but she keeps going away
and as she gets further away from him he looses his grasp on her, but is
refering to the silvery reflection you see in the water as the thing that
is at her heel. Because of her 'moment', near death experience, she has
taken something away with her that is very dear, just as a pearl is very
important to someone who goes into the ocean and finds one, but they
weren't specifically looking to find a pearl. Finally when she came back
to reality, or back to town, she'd completely come back to life, and He,
God, didn't know anybody because he is from Heaven, and doesn't know anyone
one from Earth. Then by bowing, which can mean: To bend (the head, knee,
or body) to express greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment,
submission, or veneration. He let her go back to the world and withdrew is
attempt to take her.

Max McCann from United States
Comment 23 of 386, added on October 27th, 2004 at 4:59 PM.

OK. I'm seeing this poem in a completely different way, and am in now way
saying that anyone is right nor wrong. When I read this poem I think that
Emily is talking about death, which quite a few of her poems are based
around. Also during her life she had many people she knew die around her
and around the age of 23 she committed herself to her room and practically
never came out. Authors writings tend to reflect they're lives aswell, so
I think that Emily's poem is talking about death. At the beginning of the
poem she seems to start her life, rather happily, like a normal person.
She sees some people, not necessarily like the people we see today, but
mermaids. Then she sees the frigate, which could be heaven, and its trying
to help her because in the whole scheme of things she is just a tinny
little thing, practically the size of an atom, if compared to the universe,
in this poem though she is called a mouse, and she is just another thing on
the earth. And the hands of the frigate are trying to force her to come
up to Heaven, hemp is course and rough, which show that the hand are trying
to force her to do something, but she wouldn't go, at least until the tide
came, posibbly an angel, but porbably not God himself. This angel, or the
tide, slowly started engulfing her, or rather taking her to heaven, in
essence, dying. Then it says, "And made as He would eat me up --," 'he' is
capitalized, which is a reference to God. The dew is relating back ot the
ocean, which is so vast and huge, and she is just another small part of it.
Then she started, as in she started to live again almost as if she had a
near death experience. Once again 'he' is capitalized and He is trying to
get her to come with him to keep going, but she keeps going and as she gets
further away from him he looses his grasp on her, but is refering to the
silvery reflection you see in the water as the thing that is at her heel.
Because of her 'moment', near death experience, she has taken something
away with her that is very dear, just as a pearl is very important to
someone who goes into the ocean and finds one, but they weren't
specifically looking to find it. Finally when she came back to reality, or
back to town, she'd completelly come back to life, and He, God, didn't know
anybody because he is from Heaven, and doesn't know anyone one from Earth.
Then by bowing, which can mean: To bend (the head, knee, or body) to
express greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or
veneration. He let her go back to the world and withdrew is attempt to
take her.

Max McCann from United States
Comment 22 of 386, added on September 16th, 2004 at 10:29 PM.

This poem may be interpreted using various methods but however it is
unfoled the language is excellently employed in a visual array of images
which offer the internal struggle found on the borders of the sea. I think
that there is internal dilema which is played begore her mind as she looks
and feels that she is followed by the man.

Adam Winger
Comment 21 of 386, added on September 16th, 2004 at 10:17 PM.

I thought that this poem was so great. I really haven't got the
opportunity to read a lot of dickinson yet but this was a lot different
from the popular writings I have read of hers. The main person in the poem
is so depressed. It is depicted through a stuggle that she needs to go
through. I think that Emily experiments and grows through her sexual
experiements and looks for meaning in her life.

jennifer jarrett
Comment 20 of 386, added on September 16th, 2004 at 5:58 PM.

I won't start by saying that I'm some kind of expert on this type of thing.
I'm not even close. To tell you the truth I hate when people analyse
someone else's writings. I once had a teacher tell me what I was really
trying to say in a paper. I think that really, only the author knows what
they are talking about, or if there is even any deeper meaning. But, as
you may have already guessed, our class was assigned the job for this poem,
so, what the hey, I guess I can b.s. with the best of them.

I think that this poem is about depression. I don't believe that she
really went to the beach, nor did she bring her dog. Typically the beach
is a happy place. Most people start out happy in their lives, though we
tend to not stay that way forever. The dog, to me, is also a mark of
hapiness, and I think that it's significant that she only mentions it at
the beginning. The mermaids are people that look in on the authors life,
that see her beginning to drowned and do nothing about it. I think that
the major point for my view is made in the paragraph,

"But no Man moved Me -- till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe --
And past my Apron -- and my Belt --
And past my Bodice -- too --

And made as He would eat me up --
As wholly as a Dew
Upon a Dandelion's Sleeve."

She falls deeper and deeper, felling like she is being swallowed up, with
nothing that she can do. I don't even really see an end to this
depression, just an end to life. The author was obviously troubled, and
had many problems, whether real, or imagined.

Take all of this with a handful of salt though, because, like I said, I
feel like analysis is b.s.


Matt Steele
Comment 19 of 386, added on September 16th, 2004 at 5:51 PM.

I felt this poem had many deep meanings about life, and the way things go
at times. I think that there are many times and oppurtunities that makes a
person feel alive and gives them a reason to rise early to make the most of
every moment. Then there are times that make people feel like the end has
come or that the tide has set, and at these time it causes one to reflect
on there journey that is coming to a close, this could be a sad time to see
somthing come to end, but it also can be the start of a new adventure. So
what ever it is that causes you to start early, pursue it with full
purpose, because you never know when that tide will set.

Jeff
Comment 18 of 386, added on September 16th, 2004 at 5:39 PM.

Everything from apples to arrows to cats, even trains going through
tunnels, is representative of not only intercourse, but male domination.
Perchance even the frigates in this poem symbolize the power and
persuassiveness of men - riding high on the waters of sexual desires. They
steer their chosen courses, and roughly with hemped hands engage presumably
innocent mice(women). Interestingly, the narrator is not sexually aroused
until she overwhelmed, drowned, in a flurry of eroticism. Her ego is no
longer in control, as the floods of water break through her clothes and
symbolic chastity. The narrator's superego had allowed her to walked a
balanced line between land and ocean - morality and animalistic pleasure -
but no more. She has succomed to the domination of men, and the control
that they exert with their "frigates."

and you thought the world was all about mermaids and beach vacations...

Amanda Marinello
Comment 17 of 386, added on September 16th, 2004 at 4:20 PM.

I think one could find several ways to look at the meaning behind this
poem. When applying the idea of dream symbolism you could take Dickinson's
poem as a dream written down and search for the latent content of that
dream. It seems to me that the poem is describing the power of sex. It's
saying a woman can be controlled easily by a man and then left behind just
as quickly. As mentioned by others I think it's obvious that the water is
male sexuality. The mermaids, who are a female symbol, are described to be
in the basement where they belong but get to come up for a minute to glance
at the other woman. The woman walking on the beach is then approached by
the male. He surrounds her and proceeds to journey up her body receiving
the statisfaction he needs and then just as quickly he abandons her after
reaching town because she is no longer desired.

Mindy B

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Information about I started Early -- Took my Dog --

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 520. I started Early -- Took my Dog --
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 1090 times
Poem of the Day: Aug 15 2007


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