“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see —
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

23 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I really enjoyed this poem, Sometimes our faith does have to be put into question, how firm is your faith? Do you have to see it in order to believe it

  2. Okere, Allison Nkem says:

    Faith is bringing to existence a thought, an idea, a vision, an immagination, an inspiration, and an invention which you know not how and where to start to it’s manifestation through obedience to the voice that supplies it. The evidence is only on the voice you hear from your spirit or inner mind.

  3. Okere, Allison Nkem says:

    Faith is bringing to existence a thought, an idea, a vision, an immagination, an inspiration, and an invention which you know not how and where to start to it’s manifestation through obedience to the voice that supplies it. The evidence is only on the voice you hear from your spirit or inner mind.

  4. Okere, Allison Nkem says:

    when two hearts unites and reason as one; mountains of life becomes a playground.

  5. ornela says:

    i love this poem.i think this is a great poem that speaks about faith and the psicology of mankind.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I like this poem. despite it’s length it says a lot. Overall it suggests that people were once content with faith, they believed that something was. Now, through microscopes, we want proof to see what really is, or what we have a hunch about what is. But “‘Faith’ is a fine invention” because even though we cannot see most things we believe in, we know they are exist. (i.e God)

  7. Ryan says:

    I like how so many of you seem to have met Emily Dickinson personally and from first hand experience been told what this poem means exactly…Perhaps its your interpretation and your wrong.. a few more “i thinks” would be nice.

  8. Rick says:

    so i think that piper from ireland has this nailed… piper, ir you’re reading this, i seriously quoted you in a paper i had to write! and your in my works cited page and everything… anyways, i ws thinking just what she was thinking, she just helped me express it better.

  9. ea says:

    This poem doesn’t strike me as being about religious faith so much as being about trust in general and how, when trust is called into question, one needs to look closely at the situation and not just go along blithely (faithfully.)

  10. meeyah says:

    Hey everyoone im doing this poem for my research paper and I need to interprete this poem im not fully understanding it can someone help me pleaseeeeee

  11. dively says:

    Piper, i totally agree with u .U reaally have a very deep understanding of ED’s poetry.

  12. Piper says:

    This poem is an accurate description on society’s use of faith. Faith is fine, almost necessary, when there are no problems, yet when something ‘new’ happens, science replaces religion

  13. Kevin says:

    Emily Dickinson’s poem “Faith is a fine invention,” can be interpreted spiritually. Dickinson says, ““Faith” is a fine invention- When Gentlemen can see…”” In context, Faith is belief that does not rest on logical proof or evidence. In other words, faith is believing without seeing. In Dickinson’s poem, she suggests that humankind only possess faith when the object is seen. In essence, “faith” is nonexistent.
    Dickinson continues in the subsequent lines saying, “But Microscopes are prudent- In an Emergency.” The capitalization of “Microscopes” indicates Dickinson’s reference to humankind once again. The word suggests the characteristic of some people who simply cannot accept something without witnessing an in-depth account. For example, “Microscopes” could be a representation of modern day scientists and interpreters who research and develop explanations to discover the truth behind what is believed.
    Continuing, Dickinson suggests these “Microscopes are prudent [exercise good judgment],” only when things go bad. As with most people today, good judgment is generally a last resort in the midst of adversity. Genuine faith is the only way out of trouble. Nevertheless, humankind is busy trying to offer explanations and theory rather accepting belief without logical evidence [faith].

  14. john says:

    Emily says that, “Faith is a fine invention” “but Microscopes are prudent In an Emergency.” i think that she is coming across that faith is a fine for most people when things are going good, but when there is trouble and your faith is shown how deep it is, or if it is real. then a lot of times people think that they can just go through the motions but when they need God, they relaize that they are faking it all along. To have a real relationship with the creator and our savior Jesus Christ(who is God) you must accept that we can not do anything to work our way to heaven, you simply must accpet his sacrifice of dieing on the cross for our sins and pick up our cross(live our lives for him) until we meet him in heaven.

  15. greg says:

    emily must’ve known a christian scientist or two

  16. Benton Jones says:

    I see this poem as a dig toward men like Bowles who tried to play the fiddle of “man of
    God” and “man of science.” To someone with such a narcissistic attitude, it is easy to see
    how Emily would see peering into a microsope to understand the inner workings of nature
    to be in opposition to a profession of faith. In her eyes, I suppose, if you know God is in
    control, then why try to figure out how you can change it to work to your advantage.

  17. priyanka says:

    Its a dig at people and their beliefs. About how people have faith and believe, whereas emily dickinson prefers more concrete means.

  18. sarah says:

    We’ve analyzed this poem in my literature class and it seems that it is written as a reaction to the fact that her editor didn’t want to publish her poems.
    Normally it is the human beings who are prudent and the microscope that sees. But here she turns everything upside down, the editor can not see so he doesn’t have faith. He only has faith when he can see.

  19. Priscilla says:

    I agree, sometimes people want a God-in-a-box.

  20. mik says:

    I love it.

  21. lindsey says:

    well this poem is actually about how when things are okay, you have complete faith and don’t investigate into things. but when an emergency arises you want to have proof for everything, ergo microscopes

  22. Shareef says:

    i understand this completely. Fath is a cool invention. Whn thomas E. Jefeson created mit in 1923, he made it from a lightning bolt and when theres an emergency, you must revive a brother with a heart lightning bolt. This is why microscope is slant rhyme to BOLT. Anyone who can’t understand this, you suck.

  23. rebekah says:

    This poem is about how faith is huge, but sometimes when something happens (an emergency) faith can seem like its very small.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem better? If they are accepted, they will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.