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Analysis and comments on You cannot put a Fire out -- by Emily Dickinson

Comment 8 of 8, added on September 12th, 2010 at 10:58 PM.
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Comment 4 of 8, added on April 1st, 2008 at 5:02 AM.

I feel like this poem is Dickinson's best neglected poem. It is a perfect
example of Romantic poetry, showing the heightened interest in nature.
This poem shows how powerful nature is, and that nothing humans do can
change its actions. A fire that can ignite can extinguish without the help
of other forces. There is no explanation other than nature's power. This
poem hints that nature is all connected in the last stanza. Dickinson uses
her imagination when she writes about putting a flood into a dresser
drawer.

Jessica Thivierge
Comment 3 of 8, added on March 27th, 2008 at 12:49 PM.

I really thought this poem should be included in the more popular canon
because it is highly representational of Dickinson's views on humanity, the
natural world, and levels of personal consciousness. The idea that nature
can not be tamed is a romantic ideal tha Dickinson embraces in this poem
with lines such as "you cannot fold a Flood-and put in in a drawer."
Althought Dickinson holds true to some romantic ideals, she represents
nature as forceful, unpredictable, and full of disaster, which is more like
poe-ish dark romanticism.
Levels of consciousness are also suggested in this poem by metaphorically
using the 4 elements as thoughts, memories, emotions, etc. A fire that
cannot be put out is like a memory that cannot truly be erased from the
mind, and a flood that cannot be stashed in a drawer, or corner represents
emotions that cannot be covered up or hidden. The natural world is always
there...omnipresent just like our thoughts. Conformity isn't so easy!

Danelle Faw from United States
Comment 2 of 8, added on December 25th, 2005 at 8:13 PM.

This is one of my 2 favorite poems. The other is "a word is dead" also by
Emily Dickinson. Dickinson was a wonderful writer of poetry, and her poetry
has a depth to it that is not easily compared to.

Charisse Powell from United States
Comment 1 of 8, added on March 14th, 2005 at 9:54 PM.

I really like this poem. In my high school AP English class, we are
studying Emily Dickinson and other Transcendentalist writings from others
like Thoreau and Emerson. So far, Emily Dickinson's poems have been my
favorite. What I love about her poems is that you can read as far and as
deep into them as you want to. Not everyone will get the same meaning as
someone else does. Anyway, there are many ways this poem can be
interperated. When I read it, it seemed to me that she might be talking
about life and sin. In her other poems like "Hope" and "Faith Is A Fine
Invention", she talks about God and having faith in things of higher power.
I think in this poem that fire and the flood represent secret sins that we
commit. You cannot hide these sins, although we may try to hide them.
Eventually we will have to account for them. When she states that "because
the winds would find it out and tell your cedar floor", I think that she is
saying that our sins will ultimately be found out. God always knows about
them, and so do you. Well, that's just my view on the poem. like I said,
they can be interperated in so many different ways. That's what makes them
so beautiful.

Lilo06 from United States

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Information about You cannot put a Fire out --

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 530. You cannot put a Fire out --
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 10006 times


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