I took my Power in my Hand —
And went against the World —
‘Twas not so much as David — had —
But I — was twice as bold —

I aimed by Pebble — but Myself
Was all the one that fell —
Was it Goliath — was too large —
Or was myself — too small?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem I took my Power in my Hand —


  1. teacher says:


    You are spot on. A smart 9th grader.

  2. Bob says:

    Yeah right, john, you should what out for your words, it’s not the easy to write a poem, I’ll want to see you try, and fail.

  3. Eddie says:

    Yes the way other people have interpreted this seems correct. John, better start trying. There are not infinite ways to interperet it actually, there are very many but they go out in the same trajectory. We’d hit a stopping point eventually. Of all people in history, i would want to meet Emily Dickinson

  4. Elodie says:

    Sorry John but I can’t quite catch what you mean. Your comment is such an oxymoron…
    First, you say that you can’t see the interest in commenting on poems and analyzing them. Well, it’s the basic principle of literary criticism, which anyone can dislike. I perfectly understand that you don’t like it. But then you can assume that you’re being intolerant with people who love it. We know we can’t find out what the poet really meant when he/she wrote a poem, but what’s interesting for people who read literature is to confront our ideas with others.
    Anyway. You don’t seem to be liking literature, so my question is this : why are you posting comments on a poetry site??

  5. John says:

    Honest this takes no skill at all to write.
    and you can interpert this anyway you want. Who are we or the english teachers to say what this lady truely meant when she wrote this stuff. For all we know this can mean something completely different. Im tired of having asignments to analize poems that can be interperted 100 different ways.

    • WILLIAM J ALLMAN says:

      Hey, you be you. Laziness is its own reward. Meagre, but all yours.

    • Persephone says:

      If you believe that you can best,
      Then I suggest you try-
      But you gain nothing-through cruel words-
      Meant for poems to die

      Why do you try- to kill her words-
      You’d best not waste your breath
      For can’t you see- that even now-
      Her words triumph o’er death!

  6. Åsa says:

    In school, we had analyzed this poem. My friend and I had came up with pretty much the same idea as you, Jenni.

  7. Jenni says:

    That was well interpreted, however I believe that this poem is about Emily’s life and outlook on the world. Emily was highly nonconformist and believed in whatever she perceived for herself (this is evident in Some Keep the Sabbath). In this poem it seems like Emily is unsure of why she failed to be accepted. Goliath symbolizes the world and common beliefs of society (since Goliath is a well-known religious charater) and sees it as a challenge. As Emily talks about the idealistic story she inserts herself as the unlikely challenger and a different outcome. Defeat. Emily dispays the realistic version of a modern (in her day and age) David and Goliath.

  8. Liz says:

    Alyssa, I think you did a great job interpreting the poem. Don’t let anyone intimidate you because of your youth. I love this poem also because to me it speaks of what the Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” The principle “If you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you’re right” comes through in this poem. Believe in the gifts you’ve been given…take your Power in your hand…if you believe you can, you will be successful!

  9. Alyssa says:

    This is one of my favorite Emily Dickenson poems. To me this poem is about a problem she faces. She is refering to a biblical story about David and Goliath. Everyone knows the story. David was small and weak, Goliath was huge and strong. David had some stones and he threw one at Goliath and hit him in the head and Goliath died. The poem is about facing a problem shooting for it (aimed my pebble) then failing (was all the one that fell) Then she examines the problem as it being too big (Was it Goliath was too large,) or the problem being that she was too small like David(or only I too small?)
    I think this is a great poem….I hope I interpreted it right (I am only in 9th grade => )

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