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. Anitha A G says:

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

  2. 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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