I am afraid to own a Body —
I am afraid to own a Soul —
Profound — precarious Property —
Possession, not optional —

Double Estate — entailed at pleasure
Upon an unsuspecting Heir —
Duke in a moment of Deathlessness
And God, for a Frontier.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem I am afraid to own a Body —


  1. Aztecbill says:

    I disagree. The body and soul that is owned is onesself. That is why it is not optional.

  2. Nino says:

    Emily Dickinson was one of the greatest and brightest minds in the whole world, her words inspire so many, she expressed herself through her poems, she spoke from her heart and mind, and she taught us so much!
    in this particular poem, she explains that in this world, in our world, we live in fear, we treat each others’ bodies and souls like a ,, property” we judge, each other and ourselves with our bodies, skin color, gender. we spit on each others’ souls, religion, believes and hopes, but the fact is that ,,God’ made all of us, we are one race only, the human race, and we shouldn’t create this boundaries ,, Frontier” because we all are human, no matter what race, religion, culture, sexuality. we are one.

  3. Anitha A G says:

    Thanks Christina for this brief summary of the poem. It was really helpful. I mean it. Thank you so much. ☺

    • Aztecbill says:

      Double estate (the duality of body and soul). Entailed in pleasure (sex that created you gave them to you) unsuspecting heir (You had no idea what you were bequeithed)

  4. I applaud Dickinson’s fear of “owning,” as if body or soul could be objects purchased or inherited, like wealth.
    One has a body, has a soul, but does not own them as one owns “precarious property.”
    It is regarding a body as mere property that enables poachers to rape and torturers to disfigure.
    Though a Duke (or Duchess) may lay claim to such as “possessions,” they are in fact given by “God” as ultimately inviolable.
    Such a Divine Bestower is indeed a Frontier, endlessly expanding, like a body, like a soul.

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