Apparently with no surprise
To any happy Flower
The Frost beheads it at its play —
In accidental power —
The blonde Assassin passes on —
The Sun proceeds unmoved
To measure off another Day
For an Approving God.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem Apparently with no surprise


  1. salma says:

    the main theme is the mortality of every living creature. nothing lasts forever

    • Rafique Jan Gibran says:

      i agree salma. however this has got more about religious attitude toward nature resulting in the loss of faith in nature, divine power.

  2. sama says:

    this poem is very realitic &it means nature human &this show the peaple will die whatever do

  3. Jack says:

    The “blonde assassin” is the Frost referred to earlier in the poem.

  4. Abi says:

    This poem is NOT STUPID! That said, I think it might have a double meaning…besides how Emily is talking about the flowers being killed and all that I think “Flower” being capitalized, could be referring to a person as well, so she’s bitter that the world goes on so peacefully after the death of a loved one? Or not.

  5. someone says:

    okay guys blonde does NOT refer to the sun! emily refers to the sun in the very next line so the assassin can’t be the sun or it would be too repetitive… the blonde assassin is AUTUMN! “blonde Assassin passes on” after autumn passes the sun comes back again in the same place, “Sun proceeds unmoved” the blonde assassin is NOT the SUN!!!

  6. Gilldess says:

    All of you people who think that the poem is stupid are obviously missing the point of the poem, either that or you don’t understand it so if you’re stupid enough to say the poem is dumb just because you are then don’t bother commenting!!!

  7. Amelia says:

    i like this poem, it illustrates rather well, we had to make this poem into comic strips for little kids to understand the poem.

  8. Mario Andretti says:

    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”( 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.

  9. Helena says:

    JB, thank you.

  10. Jack says:

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

  11. Kayla says:

    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.

  12. Jerry Garcia says:

    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

  13. JB says:

    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.

  14. RA Harrison says:

    “Dickenson was a naturalist” actually she was a transcendentalist

  15. Jesse B says:

    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.

  16. glen says:

    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.

  17. Brittt says:

    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

  18. Keith says:

    The god is not the sun. “the sun proceeds unmoved To measure off another day For an apporving God.” the sun proceeds to move on for the god that approves. The blond assasin is not the frost but the frost’s accidental power of death sneaking away as if nothing happend and god and nature sit by ignoring all that is happening below.

  19. Latisha says:

    Fa sho dog!

  20. Hayley says:

    A beautiful written work about the cycle of life and death in the first frost and the sun acting as god. I love that she refers to the frost as the “blonde assassin”.

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