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Analysis and comments on We never know how high we are by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 37 of 377, added on January 25th, 2012 at 3:41 PM.
Slightly Different Take

Unlike what most people seem to think, I do not believe this poem is about
ambition or the ability to perform when pushed to your limits. I think it
is about humility!

I believe the following explanation is warranted given Ms. Dickinson's
Christian background.
Consider the following bible passage (Luke 14:8-11,KJV):

"When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest
room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that
bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin
with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit
down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say
unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the
presence of them that sit at meat with thee.For whoever exalts himself
shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted."

In these verses, Christ is saying that when people humble themselves, they
will otherwise find glory from others calling them to "go up higher" or
"rise".

In light of this passage, here's how I read this poem:
"We never know how high we are/Till we are called to rise" --> True glory
comes from outside, from others calling on us to rise (i.e. praising us).
Only then do we know our own glory: "how high we are".
"And then, if we are true to plan/Our statures touch the skies" --> If we
are truly humble according to God's plan, our "statures" will touch the
sky: we will be glorified.
"The heroism we recite/Would be a daily thing/Did not ourselves the cubits
warp/For fear to be a king" --> When we try to glorify ourselves by talking
about our exploits and merits (the "heroism we recite") would be a "daily
thing": a normal, mundane thing no one would notice, UNLESS we are humble:
unless we "warp the cubits" for fear of excessive glory (for fear "to be a
king"). A cubit is an ancient unit of measure used in the Old Testament and
to "warp" means to distort or transform for the worse. Thus "warping the
cubits" means humbling ourselves by downplaying the "heroism we recite".

Just my two cents...


Joseph from Egypt
Comment 36 of 377, added on April 13th, 2011 at 1:33 PM.
Is it yours too

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alexg470 from United States
Comment 35 of 377, added on April 8th, 2011 at 7:50 AM.
Is it yours too

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alexe876 from United States
Comment 34 of 377, added on March 23rd, 2011 at 7:58 AM.
poem

i hate it

kid from Bulgaria
Comment 33 of 377, added on March 20th, 2011 at 11:15 PM.
Is it yours too

Very nice site!

alexc968 from United States
Comment 32 of 377, added on February 20th, 2011 at 4:22 PM.
Is it yours too

Very nice site!

alexb366 from United States
Comment 31 of 377, added on February 7th, 2011 at 12:06 PM.
Is it yours too

Very nice site!

alexd751 from United States
Comment 30 of 377, added on January 17th, 2011 at 9:47 AM.
Is it yours too

Very nice site!

alexe267 from United States
Comment 29 of 377, added on June 21st, 2010 at 5:20 AM.
we never know how hig we are

Personally i think as do the rest, that this poem tells of how vast the
human capabilities are if pushed up to reach, yet in the end i think emily
dickinson means to say that we have daily successes of all kind some of
which are concidered heroism, yet although we can reach higher, we put
spaces and spaces between us and some great achievements in life for fear
of the great responsibilities that come along or else the great harm some
of those high achievements might bring to the goodness in us like our
humbelness and thankfullness in life.... but thats just my opinion and
anyone is free to disagree.
thanks

ciel from United States
Comment 28 of 377, added on May 6th, 2010 at 12:00 AM.
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Information about We never know how high we are

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 1176. We never know how high we are
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 2525 times


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