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Analysis and comments on Ample make this Bed -- by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 4 of 94, added on October 21st, 2005 at 8:37 PM.

As to why they chose an Emily Dickinson poem in Sophie's Choice, there is a
crucial scene in the book (and movie) where Sophie, newly arrived in NYC
from Poland, hears a some of Dickinson's poetry from her English language
teacher. She goes to the big, imposing library, and asks in her
newly-acquired English where are books for the 19th Century American poet
"Emile Dickens." The nasty, superior library clerk tells her there is no
Emile Dickens who is an American poet. Charles Dickens, he tells her, was
a 19th Century British novelist. Unable to make herself understood, and
having been cruelly mocked by this man (as well as undernourished), she
faints on the library floor. This is when Nathan, her lover, first sees
her, takes her home to his house, and takes care of her, feeds her.

As to why this poem was used by the author (Styron), it is particularly
lovely, and expresses the solemn mood at the time; it is a blessing upon
the dead lovers as they lay in their suicide bed. Stingo thinks about how
cruel and tragic both Sophie's and Nathan's lives were, and how much more
they should hope for in death. The metaphor of the bed as grave works
perfectly. And it also segues into Stingo's reaffirmation with life. That
there is no judgment day on earth (we know because of the atrocities by the
Nazi's, including Sophie to make her choice), and the sheer unfairness of
Nathan, a genius, to be saddled by his mental illness. It is a plaintive
and redeeming ending that even after all of this, there could still be a
"Morning, excellent and fair."

Robin from Canada
Comment 3 of 94, added on July 23rd, 2005 at 2:04 AM.

Just wanted to say that the poem can hardly be written in 1955 since
Dickinson died in 1886 ;)

Stil, "ample make this bed" is really one of the most touching poems I've
ever read and it's just amazing how well it fits "Sophie's choice". You
could really think it was written only for the movie (better:the book).

Gianna Segatto from Germany
Comment 2 of 94, added on June 23rd, 2005 at 2:08 PM.

I too listened to this poem while watching Sophie's Choice. I wondered why
they chose Emily Dickinson and why this particular poem. I too feel that
there must be more. Interestingly the movie is set in 1947 the poem written
in 1955. Puzzling.

Jane Legg from United Kingdom
Comment 1 of 94, added on May 24th, 2005 at 5:31 PM.

I loved this poem in the movie, "Sophie's Choice." I am wondering if there
are more lines to it than those which appear here. I would like to have
the entire poem.

Trudi Stridborg from United States

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Information about Ample make this Bed --

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 829. Ample make this Bed --
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 1602 times
Poem of the Day: Oct 1 2003

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By: Emily Dickinson

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