Over the fence —
Strawberries — grow —
Over the fence —
I could climb — if I tried, I know —
Berries are nice!

But — if I stained my Apron —
God would certainly scold!
Oh, dear, — I guess if He were a Boy —
He’d — climb — if He could!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem Over the fence


  1. Sarah Winebarger says:

    This poem should be viewed as a critique of the physical human condition that is temptation and desire. The strawberries are a metaphor for sexual awakening and an biblical reference is being made to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. In regards to the apron, I view it as a metaphor for the chastity of the speaker because it not only physically covers the female reproductive organs but it also protects the female dress, or reputation, from harm. If God were a human, he could understand our temptation and desire for sexual awakening instead of scolding us for our human nature.

  2. frumpo says:

    If I enjoy the world too much, God will chasten me, but He made me and must know what it is like.

  3. Kevin Barker says:

    In the beginning, a biblical allusion is made by the inclusion of “strawberries” (i.e. the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden). The berries represent not only sexual promiscuity and desire, but the temptation of sin in general. Dickinson could choose that path if she so desired, but “if I stained my Apron–God would certainly scold!” The point here references either the blood of childbirth or perhaps the menstrual cycle of the female body.

    Dickinson then closes with the argument that God might himself be tempted by the ways of the world were He a boy and not God.

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