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Analysis and comments on My Life had stood -- a Loaded Gun -- by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 17 of 107, added on September 15th, 2010 at 3:55 AM.

I read this as being about faith - that Dickinson had the inner strength
and potential (the gift of words and her writing) and the companion she
speaks who 'carried her away' was not repressing her or stifling her but
God (note the capitalisation in all references to Him and He) finally
'starting' her life.

Camilla from Australia
Comment 16 of 107, added on December 8th, 2009 at 3:30 PM.
Yeah right

Papa Smurf does not speak for all Canadians... maybe only the stupid ones.
I love Dickinson.

Lifelive from Canada
Comment 15 of 107, added on January 7th, 2009 at 8:25 AM.

dude this poem sucks so much i mean come on it really isnt worth talking
about it. us people from canada dont think this should be around for i dont
like the poem like everyone else in canada

papa smurf from Canada
Comment 14 of 107, added on April 6th, 2008 at 6:09 PM.

This is about life long rage. She is the gun and she has had to be
reclusive and live unnoticed, in corners of the rooms of her life. Had she
been a man she may have had the opportunity to express herself in public,
but in her society that was not possible.



She protects her patriarchal family and society by not expressing herself,
but at the greatest cost to her - she has no agency, and this is the cause
of her rage. In public she is the dutiful daughter, and even with the
false smile - false because it is Vesuvian (after Mt. Vesuvius, which is a
volcano which erupts, and when it does - did - it killed everyone - how
much rage is that!)

Even at night she has to protect the paternal image. To have shared that
soft pillow made of goose down would smother her, so she stays guarded and
doesn't sleep on what looks so soft but is so dangerous.

She is so committed to keeping her stoical place in the paternal society
that she will defend it - she is foe to anyone who is foe to "him." The
emphatic thumb, that one can suck for comfort as a child can also have a
"Freudian" interpretation, of something that is swollen, and the Vesuvian
spew can be thought of that way as well. This doesn't mean that she had
sexual relations with her father - rather that she is so enraged that she
is stuck in the secondary role, only as guardian or protector of those who
keep her from the freedom of being her own person - and she has to do this
seemingly willingly.

And then in the last paragraph, she states that even though she could
outlive her father, her family, men in general, she had better die first
because the world is not a big enough place for both (all) of them and she
would like to kill except that she has been taught that she must not. And
she cannot even kill herself because that is also forbidden.

She is in a box from where there is no escape. This is not a love poem.
This is a poem that shows anger in its rawest form. This is pure rage.

Susan from United States
Comment 13 of 107, added on August 30th, 2007 at 3:15 AM.

There is a hidden, subversive anger.. the tone of which is not very direct,
for instance , like in Sylvia Plath's poetry. Emily Dickinson mocks at the
phallogocentric world.. where the man is the precursor and the deciding
factor to what a woman is supposed to do. The symbols of being a loaded gun
,also , a doe ... signify uselessness and the inner conflict felt as a
woman. Also, the symbol of dove is a very gentle, loving ,maiden symbol.



Sneha from India
Comment 12 of 107, added on June 4th, 2007 at 10:43 AM.

I think this poem is the best I ever read. Emily is telling us that she had
to freedom. She was trapped. She couldn't do her own thing. All she wanted
to do is write poetry, but she wan't good enough because she wan't a man. I
think this poem is the best she ever wrote. It really expresses how she
feels.

Lisa Green from Italy
Comment 11 of 107, added on May 31st, 2007 at 9:51 AM.

A great poem!

Cindy
Comment 10 of 107, added on March 1st, 2007 at 11:19 AM.

Reading this poem, I really felt like I was feeling Emily's despair as she
writes. My Life Had Stood-- A Loaded Gun, just reading this sends so many
ideas to my mind. Always thinking, oh what will this poem bring? What does
this poet feel? After thinking about all the possibilities of what she was
trying to express, I read it. I honestly savered every word; it sank in and
I felt her emostions arise. I give Emily Dickinson my applaus!

Brieanna from United States
Comment 9 of 107, added on February 24th, 2006 at 12:38 PM.

Emily's poem "My life had stood--a Loaded Gun--" is a beautiful love poem.
She has finally met her "owner" and her "master." She wrote letters to her
"master." She saw women in subservient roles in her society. She lived in a
male based society. She is glowing, she is loving this experience. She had
become his protector, she has become his soul mate, if only for a while.
The poem personifies a gun. She is that gun. She has been allowed to
"shoot" with her words, and her words are those that will never die. The
poem may be an enigma, just like Emily, but that is the beauty of it.
Shakespeare had the same kind of obscurity. She had the genius of a
Shakespeare, a soul addmitted to itself. She was a loaded gun that went off
with her words and gave us beautiful insights into the soul and life. "A
thing of beauty is a joy forever..." and I would have to agree that many of
her poems are just that--things of beauty. "Loaded Gun" is just one of her
many "things of beauty."

Dick from United States
Comment 8 of 107, added on December 12th, 2005 at 3:59 PM.

My life stood...a loaded gun
means that Emily can only use writing as her weapon, but can never die ...
even if she wants to.

di from United States

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Information about My Life had stood -- a Loaded Gun --

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 754. My Life had stood -- a Loaded Gun --
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 3035 times


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