Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate
Whose table once a
Guest but not
The second time is set.

Whose crumbs the crows inspect
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the
Farmer’s Corn —
Men eat of it and die.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem Fame is a fickle food


  1. Mapaseka says:

    I think this poem is about fame in comparison to food, you have it then you later do not want it becasuse you are full of it. line 5,6& 7 mean that, fame can come and go, people can be happy for you for a short period of time but later on, you will pass and they will like someone else.

  2. Keith Krugerud says:

    What I think she seeks to convey is that fame is a fickle food we all desire, but once we get a taste of it, we change and forget about our origins and traditions: we become narcissitic and forget about family. We, then become too dependent on fame like a drug – our fan base – for without it, we lose all that status and praise. Just look at Brittney Spears: fame, and the paparazzi have broken her soul and personality to crumbs and to practical schizophrenia. Thus, herein, lay the ironic caw of fame. The crows are a smart bird who know foods via experience and would choose corn, eventhough this is a food that we cannot live on, for it goes through the “body” and does not digest, over the poisonous fickle food of fame that truly crumbles and kills the “soul” – the soul is more important that the body.

  3. India Wesaw says:

    In my freshman English class, English 102, my partner and i are doing research on this poem. We have the top half of it covered; and this is basicly saying that fame can change everyday. you may have it one day, but not the next. Because the term “Fickle” means Constantly changing. We havent quit figured out the bottom half yet, but once we get it, we will be sure to post it.

  4. Jordan says:

    Fame can consume you and turn you into someone that you really dont want to be. it changes you, for the good or for the worst no one really knows but it does change you.
    the old you dies away and your someone totally different then who you were.

  5. EMILY says:

    i thought that the poem was very interesting!!! the tital says it all!!!!!

  6. cooter says:

    this poem blows leaves

  7. Jimmy Hayes says:

    I thought this poem sucked eggs.But it was interesting.

  8. eliz says:

    I felt like she was describing how fame can take away the privacy and stability of a “normal” life. This seems to fit, because she was so reculsive.

  9. lx1925 says:

    What she want to express is :fame is the thing outside yourself,you strive for it all your life,but in the end ,you die without it .Just enjoy what your striving process,do not care other’s critique and compliment.Do yourself!

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