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Analysis and comments on Tell all the Truth but tell it slant -- by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 32 of 412, added on May 25th, 2009 at 11:35 AM.

In a simpler explanation, Dickinson is all about the use of words, and her
ability to pick a simple word, and choose another resembling the same
meaning. Her poetry can be interpreted easily, but her wording is what
makes is so difficult. The first line "Tell all the Truth but tell it
slant"- her punctuation and capitalization is still unknown, we do not
necessarily know the reasoning for all of her punctuation, but we should
believe that the topic of the poem is about truth, when telling the truth,
it is always easier to fluff if a little, if it is harmful to someone,
instead of telling it "straight" on- Dickinson says to "tell it slant",
perhaps meaning that the truth is easier to handle if not all told at once.
"Success in Circuit lies"- it is easier to slowly tell the truth and take
extra time or "laps" in a circuit to tell the truth, slow and steady wins
the race, and by slowing circling around the truth, it will be easier to
overcome. "Too bright for our inform Delight"- the truth can be too much to
handle, or "too bright", depending on the harshness or happiness that comes
from it, our "inform Delight" (ego) can only handle so much. "The Truth's
superb surprise"- some may be suprised if told at once, and this leads into
the next line "As Lightening to the Children eased"- as children, it is
harder to understand teh reality of life, and the truth behind
circumstances. Children tend to have a harder time understanding the truth,
and it is more shocking (relating to lightning) for children when they
uncover the truth behind something. But "With explanation kind"-
explanation for children can help ease children into understand why
something is the way it is, and that the truth is not always an easy thing
to handle. "The Truth must dazzle gradually"- it is easier for the truth to
be gradually told, if it dazzles all at once, it can be too much to handle-
a gradual introduction to the truth will help people to understand the
meaning behind it. "Or every man be blind"- if it the truth is told
straight on, with no "slant"- the "dazzling" meaning behind it may blind or
crush someone, accepting the truth completely can harm people and cause
alot of pain if bluntly revealed.
Hope this helps!

Elizabeth from United States
Comment 31 of 412, added on May 25th, 2009 at 11:13 AM.

In a simpler explanation, Dickinson is all about the use of words, and her
ability to pick a simple word, and choose another resembling the same
meaning. Her poetry can be interpreted easily, but her wording is what
makes is so difficult. The first line "Tell all the Truth but tell it
slant"- her punctuation and capitalization is still unknown, we do not
necessarily know the reasoning for all of her punctuation, but we should
believe that the topic of the poem is about truth, when telling the truth,
it is always easier to fluff if a little, if it is harmful to someone,
instead of telling it "straight" on- Dickinson says to "tell it slant",
perhaps meaning that the truth is easier to handle if not all told at once.
"Success in Circuit lies"- it is easier to slowly tell the truth and take
extra time or "laps" in a circuit to tell the truth, slow and steady wins
the race, and by slowing circling around the truth, it will be easier to
overcome. "Too bright for our inform Delight"- the truth can be too much to
handle, or "too bright", depending on the harshness or happiness that comes
from it, our "inform Delight" (ego) can only handle so much. "The Truth's
superb surprise"- some may be suprised if told at once, and this leads into
the next line "As Lightening to the Children eased"- as children, it is
harder to understand teh reality of life, and the truth behind
circumstances. Children tend to have a harder time understanding the truth,
and it is more shocking (relating to lightning) for children when they
uncover the truth behind something. But "With explanation kind"-
explanation for children can help ease children into understand why
something is the way it is, and that the truth is not always an easy thing
to handle. "The Truth must dazzle gradually"- it is easier for the truth to
be gradually told, if it dazzles all at once, it can be too much to handle-
a gradual introduction to the truth will help people to understand the
meaning behind it. "Or every man be blind"- if it the truth is told
straight on, with no "slant"- the "dazzling" meaning behind it may blind or
crush someone, accepting the truth completely can harm people and cause
alot of pain if bluntly revealed.
Hope this helps!

Elizabeth Gollin from United States
Comment 30 of 412, added on February 5th, 2009 at 9:54 AM.

i think that this is a ok poem but what do she really means an sometimes
when she is wirting it can be can of carzy to me but i think i have to now
more about poetry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

valencia Johnson from United States
Comment 29 of 412, added on January 28th, 2009 at 10:04 PM.

Jerry Garcia... I totally agree. I hate poetry.

But i agree that this is about confrontation and go it must be done
carefully

Lauren R from United States
Comment 28 of 412, added on January 26th, 2009 at 1:41 PM.

For all those who are saying that Emily Dickinson is pointing out that
there is no God in this poem, take a look at her background. Dickinson is a
very religious woman and most of her poems are about death and God. The
reason she writes about death is because she does not see it as a bad
thing. She sees is as a gift from God. Because of the views that she takes
from Thoreau and those like him, she believes that during life, we continue
to disappoint God. But in death, we go to Heaven and will be with God where
we cannot sin against him and therefore cannot disappoint him.

So, if she believes all of this, the poem obviously does not say that there
is no God. She believes way too much to say that.

Kelsey from United States
Comment 27 of 412, added on November 10th, 2008 at 11:47 AM.

comment 23 is the most correct. Thanks Not a Moron!

mike from United States
Comment 26 of 412, added on June 17th, 2008 at 7:18 PM.

HOW CAN ONE SUPPORT THE IDEA ABOUT THE POEM INTERPRETATION AS GIVEN ABOVE?

NAHSON KABUYAYA from Congo, Democratic Republic of
Comment 25 of 412, added on February 6th, 2008 at 5:37 AM.

"Tell the Truth but Tell it Slant"

Poetry can be perceived in many ways, this is my interpretation:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

In the first line of the poem the letter "T" is alliterated in the words
"tell" "truth" "tell" to emphasize that telling the truth is important.
Dickinson then argues of the way in which the truth should be told.
Dickinson states " Success in Circuit Lies", here she alliterates "Success"
"Circuit" Using the soft sound of the letter "s". Thus only in the first
stanza she explains that the truth should be told, but cautiously. She
explains that many times we think we want to know the truth to our
"delight" but we are "infirm" , thus, being told the truth leads to making
us even more weak. We should avoid telling the truth as a "superb
surprise".

In the Second Stanza,Dickinson deliberates on this explanation about
telling the truth. She explains that truth must be told as it is told to
the children and how it is explained to them. She uses "lightning" as an
example.( A mother would not tell her scared child to beware of lightning
because it would kill him. Saying so would shock or "blind" him with the
knowledge of the truth. Instead of shocking him she would instead care of
him and tell him as long as they were under their house they would be
safe.) She uses "kind" explanations. The truth must be told gradually, and
the mother could eventually teach her child of the true harm lightning can
cause, but "Truth must dazzle gradually".

Most importantly Dickinson explains that the teller of the truth must be
careful and gentle in the way he/she tells the truth. The teller is
responsible for her audience.

Katie from United States
Comment 24 of 412, added on February 1st, 2008 at 3:02 AM.

For of all I don't see how this poem can be about God. I believe that it is
about depression that weighs down your body. As the weather changes so does
your mood. The lines "We can find no scar,/But internal differences-", made
me think that the speaker of the people was depressed and no one could see
these scars inside of her/him.

Sara from Italy
Comment 23 of 412, added on January 22nd, 2008 at 12:12 AM.

A couple of things: First, even though "truth" is capitalized at all points
throughout, it's a reference to the Platonic idea of truth as a static
concept. Plato thought, contrary to the pre-Modern philosophers, that
there existed a world of ideas and that everything we see is an imperfect
replication of that idea. Plato thought that these imperfections, although
real, were less important than the world of ideas, which due to their ideal
nature, were perfect. See also the Allegory of the Cave and Plato's belief
in a single static truth from which there may be different perceptual
realities yet only one real truth.

Second, although the post about Dickinson's personal life is thoughtful as
to the subtext, it does not necessarily follow that Dickinson was writing
about what may or may not have been her personal experiences and beliefs
concerning the existence of a supreme being. What is just as likely is the
alternative explanation most people adopt after reading the text.

Since "Truth" is capitalized, and because the stanza concludes as it does,
I think it could just as easily be talking about the sudden knee-jerk
reaction most feel when confronted by something to which they do not agree.
The line "The Truth must dazzle gradually" is, I believe, a statement
about the nature of confrontation. That which we learn to accept over time
is much easier to swallow than a whole suddenly presented to us without
warning.

Third, every post thus far has ignored the second line of the poem.
"Success in Circuit lies." When the poem was authored in in the latter
half of the 19th Century, the judicial departments were divided into
Circuits. Like "Truth," I believe this word is capitalized for a reason-
it references the legal jurisdictional entities prevalent in her day. As
her father was a lawyer and public official, it is not unlikely that Emily
was exposed to the law at some level and was thus aware of the practice of
"slant"ing facts in legal argument in order to be "success"ful before the
"Circuit" court.

Thus, although the religious reading may be one valid way of reading the
text and understanding her biography, I believe the more likely result of
such a study produces a permutation of general and legal advice.

Not a Moron

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Information about Tell all the Truth but tell it slant --

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 1129. Tell all the Truth but tell it slant --
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 973 times
Poem of the Day: Dec 17 2002


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