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Comment 1 of 5, added on November 7th, 2004 at 12:16 AM.
First off this poem was not written in 1955. That is proabably the
publishing date for a book from which this was taken.
Emily Dickinson was well-known for being a recluse. From 1865 and on she
stayed in her bedroom writing and never left her father's house. She never
married. This poem is about her room; she has come to terms with her
imprisonment (which was self-imposed by the way) and is ritualizing her
behavoirs within the room. On the other hand, as is made clear by the last
stanza, the prison is a metaphor for the body, spocifically her female
body. As a poet, she is in a double bind( not my expression) she is both
wary of transgressing gender roles while willing to assert her poetic
(phallic) power. Thus the prison metaphor for her body: " features day amd
night/Are present to us as our own/And as escapeless quite." The plural
pronoun "us" is in regards to the split personalities Dickinson often
employed; often masculine, but usually in regards to splits between an I
for the soul and an I for the brain and an I for the body.