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Emily Dickinson’s poem #371 Essay

Analyzing the poem by discovering how the author used literary elements usually is very essential to understanding the poem’s theme. As one of the significant elements, extended metaphor may convey one of key ideas in poetry. Depending on the poem, extended metaphor may provide the opportunity to reflect on even more deep and hidden, but just as important concepts the author chooses to convey. Similarly, in the poem # 371, Emily Dickinson uses extended metaphor as practically the most essential element to convey her feelings in regard to The Antique Book held as fascinating and exciting volume.

Emily Dickinson compares real historical characters to the Antique Book, giving it the qualities of a fine gentleman. It is a “precious pleasure” to meet such a gentleman who will entice with and tell of his radical but thrilling notions. What must mesmerize Emily in the “Antique Book” are realistic images of “the Dress his Century wore,” along with the opportunity of learning about compositions by Shakespeare, Sappho, Sophocles, Plato, to inspect their thoughts in detail, and to understand their contradicted ideas- dreams of the future. Such account of acquaintance, enhanced with the facts of history, is an “Enchantment.” This sophisticated “figure” may be dear to the narrator in the same way Beatrice may be to Dante. It is only one of the many reasons why Emily Dickinson would call “Antique Book” a gentleman-like, where the contents of a volume either entice, reflect, intrigue, puzzle, or fascinate the narrator.

The development of this metaphor may be compared with the process of reading and enjoying a book. It can also be seen as an acquaintance with a particular person. As when meeting the “gentlemen,” the narrator may acquire strong fascination for this “person.” Fascination of Emily Dickinson may be seen through diction, since it is evidently “a…pleasure…to meet and Antique Book.” Further on, it is a “venerable Hand to take” and later it is “His quaint opinions- to inspect.” It seems as if the subject begins to fascinate the narrator and thus the conversation begins to be more intriguing. Here, then, “Old Volume shake their Vellum Heads,” thus tantalizing “-just so-” The encounter leaves the narrator with only the wish and that is to hear more. Undoubtedly, the same concept can be addressed to an act of reading a book. The “acquaintance” is then with an interesting book which one reads on to inspect its contents over and over, filled with radical but inspiring ideas. It can be said in overall that the point of interest in this poem arises from the first stanza to the last.

Such usage of an extended metaphor and also other literary elements is meant to reveal the theme. What especially underlines the extended metaphor and thus helps to reflect narrator’s fascinating and exciting account is the use of allusion, diction, iambic pentameter in the poem, and also such elements as assonance and consonance. Basically, a reference to some of the great people in history is intended to be an aspect of the extended metaphor, which personifies The Antique Book, and is an allusion to the great philosophers, poets, and playwrights. Iambic pentameter is a significant tool because it, though seemingly plain and simple as an element, may convey numerous things, ideas that prosperous elegance is admired.

Emily Dickinson also uses “slant rhyme” that might add to the effect of the poem, created as a bit formal but still a bit irregular. It can produce the same effect a book must produce on the narrator in this poem. In turn, assonance and consonance help to distinguish the key ideas in the poem. Though not many, Emily Dickinson uses consonance to connect the words such as “theme,” “mutual” and “mind.” Also assonance is used in words “venerable Hand to take,” repeating the vowel sound to emphasize, especially, the privilege behind this act. Referring to all the literary elements Emily Dickinson uses, it must be that otherwise understanding of the poem may have become convoluted.

Consequently the poem thoroughly can be analyzed to trace the elements essential to the theme. It is very important to use such elements where poem may otherwise be seen pointless. In the poem #371, Emily Dickinson effectively reflects on her feelings thus enabling the poem to be intriguing, as the book is to the narrator. It may be true that Emily, as an author, gets her ideas, such a strange at the time and a curious at others embodied in a poetic form, from the sort of “Old Volume” as the one described in the poem. If so, this correlation may help suggest a message of a broader issue reflected in this poem.

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