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Analysis and comments on Apparently with no surprise by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 13 of 343, added on April 6th, 2007 at 6:33 PM.

In the poem Apparently with no surprise, Emily Dickinson writes on
nature’s cycle of death and it’s indifference to it. Each of the three
objects in the poem are personified and attached to words with specific
connotations. These objects and their meanings contribute to the poem’s
theme. The poem also employs several other literary devices with hidden
symbolic meanings.
The flower in Dickinson’s poem is “happy” (line 2) and “at its play”
(line3). With this choice of words, the flower becomes the embodiment of
childish innocence. The flower is made even more human-like when Dickinson
has it “beheaded” (line 3), which symbolizes the death of the flower.
Choosing to capitalize the word flower in the poem also gives the object a
name, further personifying it.
The second object identified in the poem is frost. Frost is also
capitalized, giving the force a name, making it seem human. The frost is
responsible for the death of the flower, as the frost “beheads” (line 3) it
with “accidental power” (line 4). The word “beheads” (line3) implies a
sense of vicious malevolence, while the words “accidental power” (line 4)
contrast the previous connotation with an idea of the unconsciousness with
which this action is pursued.
The last personified object in the poem is the sun. The sun is referred to
as a “blonde Assassin” (line 5). The word “blonde” (line5) is used to
reflect the color yellow, while both “blonde” (line 5) and “Assassin” (line
5) makes the object lifelike. The word “Assassin” (line 5) has a negative
connotation suggestive of cruelty and violence. The sun is “unmoved” (line
6), making it indifferent to killing the human-like frost. This vicious act
is contrasted and rectified by an “Approving God” (line 8), which signifies
the sun was simply doing what it was created to do. The sun was serving its
purpose, just as the frost did that for which it was created.
Dickinson chooses with this poem to write only eight lines. She chooses to
do so because eight is the symbol for infinity, which is the “the endless
knot or mystic diagram [that] symbolizes the endless cycle of
rebirth”(Khandro.net). It is suggestive of the circular and never ending
cycle of nature. With each ending comes a new beginning, and with each
death comes a life. This is in direct correlation with the central idea of
the poem.
The poem is also very transcendentalist in nature. It embodies
transcendentalism ideals. Transcendentalism teaches that everything and
everyone is connected. This idea resonates with her ideas of cyclic
mindless murder in nature that is in place simply to “measure off another
day” (line 7). The idea of another day symbolizes a new beginning, despite
the losses of that day, namely, the frost ‘beheading’ (line 3) the flower
and in turn the “blonde Assassin”(line 5) slaying the frost.
In conclusion, the symbolism and connotation attached to each object, the
ideals, and other literary devices embedded in the poem relate back to the
theme of the work. Everything in creation serves a purpose, and nothing is
to blame for death in nature. Death occurs in cycles as God intended.
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Mario Andretti from United States
Comment 12 of 343, added on April 1st, 2007 at 7:23 PM.

JB, thank you.

Helena from United States
Comment 11 of 343, added on March 27th, 2006 at 12:48 PM.

we are doing this poem for english. fo sho. it is a really good poem.

Jack from United States
Comment 10 of 343, added on March 13th, 2006 at 6:10 PM.

I believe that "Apparently with No Surprise" is a poem about nature that is
indifferent and can't help what it does. Through the eight lines of the
poem, Dickinson makes the reader think. We do not think of a flower being
happy, and the frost (the blonde assassin) as the antagonist that accidenly
kills the happy flower. At the end of the poem, we learn that nature is
not purposeful, but needed to keep the world turning.

Kayla from United States
Comment 9 of 343, added on March 1st, 2006 at 6:18 PM.

is it a coincidence or is dickinson trying to tell us that nature is
circular by only using 8 lines, because 8 is a sign of infinity. Either
that or I am on crack and have absolutely no idea what I am talking about

Jerry Garcia from Canada
Comment 8 of 343, added on February 15th, 2006 at 4:57 PM.

In this poem, Emily Dickinson portrays a scene of a flower being destroyed
by frost. She refers to the flower as being “happy”, thus giving us an
impression of life, not simply nature. She proceeds with the action of
frost beheading the flower while they are playing, and notes that this was
an accident of power. This first stanza sets the stage for the rest of the
poem and the questions that follow. The next group of lines makes mention
of a “blonde assassin”, which could be viewed in a few different ways: as
the frost itself, a season, or as a picture of innocence, confirming the
flower’s death as an accident rather than a plot. I see the assassin as the
latter. Apparently Dickinson is trying to convey the thought that nature is
rhythmic, neutral, and unwavering by mentioning that the assassin “passes
on” and that the “sun proceeds unmoved”. The question of God could be
viewed in two distinct ways in my mind: one is raised by the thought of
whether or not He is malicious since he sees the action of the flower’s
death and approves. I believe if this were the question being asked, then
it is not fully answered in the poem. By merely concluding that God
approves in no way declares his maliciousness or thoughtlessness regarding
nature or humanity, as his approval could be due to a pleasure in knowing
that his design is working properly. If the question is one of God’s
existence, which I believe it is, the end of the poem replies with a
definite “yes!” by implying that He not only exits, but also controls and
revives the workings of life below His kingdom.

JB from United States
Comment 7 of 343, added on November 27th, 2005 at 11:40 PM.

"Dickenson was a naturalist" actually she was a transcendentalist

RA Harrison from United States
Comment 6 of 343, added on November 3rd, 2005 at 9:17 PM.

When I think of something as a "blonde assassin, I think of a blonde
person. A person that cannot possibly do anything with intention, or in
wisdom. The frost is the "blonde assassin", and it is trying to play with
the flower. The frost unintentionally harms the flower, but god means for
this to happen. He then allows the sun to come up in order to relieve the
flower. That is how I see it.

Jesse B
Comment 5 of 343, added on August 22nd, 2005 at 11:45 AM.

I’d like to regard the poem as something that reminds us of our
vulnerability of ourselves to nature and yet how apparent it should be to
respect this as we are all represented by the immense beauty metaphorically
professed by a 'happy flower' which is coincidentally rooted and also
reflects on our identity and responsibility to nature. I agree with the
notion that this poem serves to show us that nature is 'neutral' and that
its implications on our lives -whether good or bad- is part of the cyclical
behavior of existence; that there should be a balance. However, I thought
that blond assassin represented autumn, unmoved sun being summer, another
day with an approving god being spring and frost as winter. In this way all
4 seasons are showed and that again emphasizes on the rotational or
rhythmic style of nature with equal proportions. If this is true, then
putting three seasons into one stanza and only winter in the beginning can
actually remind us of how we as human beings tend to see loss or demise as
the worst curse. Emily Dickson however wants us to know that as happy
flowers we should all welcome this process and be apparent about it and not
just apparent about it but "with no surprise"! the use of use of accidental
and god echoes the need of forgiveness/ magnigamous/acceptance of nature
and not merely biased opinions whereby we separate ourselves from important
things like' circumstances' or 'fate'. It too is ironic to note that the
happy flower is beheaded knowingly and that shows how loss is normal, that
things are balanced or proportionate based on nature.

glen from Singapore
Comment 4 of 343, added on May 17th, 2005 at 9:45 PM.

The poem is not really about God...Dickenson was a naturalist. She refers
to the powers of nature and how it is not malignant...it just is what it
is. It covers the "happy flower" with "frost" and like a "blonde assassin"
killing the flower. God approves because this is how he intended nature to
be...neutral.I say this because it can be both bad and good, evil and
innocent, destructive and productive. Nature is nature... a cycle that
continues without thought or control over it

Brittt from United States

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Information about Apparently with no surprise

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 1624. Apparently with no surprise
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 65 times
Poem of the Day: May 30 2012


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