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Analysis and comments on The Heart asks Pleasure -- first -- by Emily Dickinson

Comment 8 of 8, added on April 10th, 2010 at 12:00 AM.
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Comment 7 of 8, added on April 8th, 2010 at 5:21 AM.
very meaningful poem

My own cooked up analysis if as follows :-)
In summary, I think she is talking about how life generally progress
towards liberation (true freedom).

The heart seeks enjoyment, but enjoyment is measured in pain. One defines
the other. A temporary adjustment (anodynes - material or otherwise) is not
a sustainable option, and hence sleep. Sleep is "happiness" in some sense.
Absent is the time-pleasure-pain nexus in the sleep state, yet, its not a
practical option. The "Heart" is "submerged" in sleep (nescience). The last
two lines shows depth of Emily's understanding of her own "self". "The
will.." or "The Grace.." of the heart's "Inquisitor" is a must to be free
(die) to all the above situations. I don't think she is talking about
physical death, but the death of "heart".

Hrishikesh Menon from India
Comment 6 of 8, added on September 30th, 2008 at 7:42 PM.

It occurs to me, based on the rhyme and meter, which give the poem an
almost nursery-rhyme feel to it, that she is mocking this type of "faith."
To me, it seems as though she is simply observing people and, somewhat,
calling them out on their hypocrisy! Faith means believing and trusting in
God no matter what, not simply giving up when things don't go perfectly and
eventually giving up completely on life! As you said, she was a strict
Calvinist, so why would she endorse losing hope in God?

Kelsey from United States
Comment 5 of 8, added on August 19th, 2008 at 12:32 PM.

the heart asks pleasure first - so people wont to love and to be loved, but
then when the love is platonic they wont to stop loving and gain a relive,
forget. The second stanza seems to me like a desire to die. She said about
the sleep. A sleep gives us rest and we forgot about plain life. Maybe she
wonts to fall in the eternal sleep but she must have the permission of the
God- Inquisitor and then she will be able to end her life - liberty to die.


I invented it so do not take it seriously ;) what do you think about my
interpretation??

Egiptia
Comment 4 of 8, added on April 19th, 2007 at 2:50 PM.

I think, considering Emily Dickinson's background, these are a small list
of minor prayers that she may have each day. Being she was a devout
Calvinist and religious person, these may be common requests she made to
God, the "Inquisitor" in prayer.

Landon from United States
Comment 3 of 8, added on March 14th, 2006 at 11:03 AM.

To me, she just either suffered a great heartache or thought on the process
of such. To me its just plain truth, everyone desires happiness, and if you
can't have that great crazy happy then just no pain is good, thats the next
best thing, and hey if you have to be in pain best to be numb right. To me
its just honesty, no matter the reason for writing it, whether it be
speculation on mans nature, a great heartache or even an illness. She was
truly brilliant.

Rachel from Canada
Comment 2 of 8, added on October 8th, 2005 at 1:20 AM.

Seems rather evident... painful chronic illness is the inspiration for this
poem. Most of us who suffer so have similar thoughts. There are fates worse
than death.

Gabrielle from United States
Comment 1 of 8, added on February 2nd, 2005 at 1:05 PM.

I think this poem pretty much speaks for iself; however, it's hard to
ananlyze because I'm not sure exactly what the circumstances are that
surround or influence the motive behind her feelings...any help?

Dayna from United States

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Information about The Heart asks Pleasure -- first --

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 536. The Heart asks Pleasure -- first --
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 763 times
Poem of the Day: Aug 21 2004


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