Knows how to forget!
But could It teach it?
Easiest of Arts, they say
When one learn how

Dull Hearts have died
In the Acquisition
Sacrificed for Science
Is common, though, now —

I went to School
But was not wiser
Globe did not teach it
Nor Logarithm Show

“How to forget”!
Say — some — Philosopher!
Ah, to be erudite
Enough to know!

Is it in a Book?
So, I could buy it —
Is it like a Planet?
Telescopes would know —

If it be invention
It must have a Patent.
Rabbi of the Wise Book
Don’t you know?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem Knows how to forget!

1 Comment

  1. khushi agarwal says:

    A poem is something which may have different interpretation accordingly . According to me this poem has two different analysis
    One is that the poem is about emotional feelings . The poet has someone who had died and she just cant seem to forget the person . so shes asking everyone that we know how to forget things like things we learn in school or something someone has told us but can someone teach her the art of forgetting because in this case the person is not able to forget . This is the thing about death . You want to forget the person but then to you cant . We know in the later years of life Emily lost many of her closed one . so maybe the poem is related to the sadness she feels . she says ‘many dull hearts have died in the acquisition’ . so it can be interpreted as many people with weak hearts who couldn’t withstand the heartache died . Maybe people experimented on it on the basis of science to learn the art of forgetting but in the end couldn’t . so she is saying ‘ sacrifice for science is common’ . she is asking everyone to teach her the art of forgetting or from where she can learn it . The philosophers says you have to be an erudite , she herself introspects that is there a book or is it like a planet or is a invention i could not learn because its patent . In the end she is even questioning the rabbi which is the Almighty .

    The second interpretation can be that the poet is questioning the education system . she has learnt the art of remembering but not the art of forgetting voluntarily . she forget things but that is due to the passage of time . ‘knows how to forget but could it teach it ‘. She is saying ‘she went to school but was not wiser’ this may be interpreted as she has learnt institutionalized knowledge for eg. astronomy , botany , logarithms but not the knowledge that could help her survive in the world . she knows the pretense that the world is, the factual knowledge but not the practical aspect of life like how to cope with people , emotions and situations that you were just not expecting . She is saying that philosophers knows the theoretical aspects of forgetting and accordingly to be an erudite that is enough .
    .so the poet is questioning that how can she forget on her own if she wants to and not just because of time.According to her it is not enough as forgetting is also a major part of life . It is like you dont have control of your own self. Maybe she wants to know the reason behind forgetting so she is seeking for answers . maybe she is curious because its magical – The fading of memory when you want to hold it forever . Isnt is mystical and interesting like pieces of puzzle that you wants to put together ?so shes even urging the science to look for it ‘sacrifice for science is common though now’ . .
    She is thinking that can she find it in a book so she could buy it or is it like a planet she could see through with telescope . after searching for so long she is lost so shes even questioning herself that maybe she couldn’t find it because its an invention which is patent and thats why she couldnt find it anywhere . in the end she even questions the Jesus that dont you know where i can learn to voluntary forget things .

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