Analysis of the Concept of Hope in the Poems Life and Hope is a Thing with Feathers

Categories: Hope


Bronte has an interesting look on hope. In her poem called "Life" she explains some days you might have rough cloudy days, causing you to trudge but hope will pick you up and your despair will vanish. On the other hand, Emily Dickinson has a slightly different look comparing hope to an undefeatable bird. The theme they have in common is hope though it is described in different ways, it has similar qualities.


In Charlotte Bronte's poem, "Life" she explains life will not be perfect, you will wake up hearing the pitter patter of the rain falling and think to yourself it is going to be a dull/gloomy day, but "the shower will make the roses bloom" giving us an appealing sight of the vibrant flowers.

Bronte plays a figurative role in this stanza comparing "gloomy days" to problems we face in our lives. Meaning the problems that occur in our day to day lives will eventually pass and we "the roses" will bloom from them, we will learn and grow from that experience.

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Bronte encourages us to enjoy the "sunny " things as they last. There will be times when death enters your life "and call [your] best away" and you will feel hopeless and let the sorrow get to you, but hope will not take a heavy blow such as that and end its life there, instead "hope again elastic springs,/ Unconquered though he fell" will help pick you back up on your feet and get you through the hardships.

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Hope is a Thing with Feathers

Dickinson begins her poem with a metaphor in the first two lines. "Hope is a thing with feathers/ that perches in the soul" This metaphor helps the reader get a visual sense of what hope might look like. Our soul is the center of our individual lives and hope is the bird, or in literal terms, the force that drives us to reach our ambitions. "And sweetest-in the Gale- is hear-," meaning in your darkest times hope might be the sweetest thing you needed. The rest of that stanza talks about hope is a powerful thing, it's job is to comfort people; but even a strong storm could not knock down someone who is filled with hope. The beautiful thing about hope is that the reader claims they have "heard it in the chillest land- and on the strangest sea-" meaning everywhere you go, hope is there. There isn't an island without hope on it; and it never asks "for a crumb" in return. Meaning hope will never ask you to trade something in exchange of encouragement. Hope is there to encourage us to get back on our feet and keep moving forward.

The Differences between the Poems

The main differences between both poems, "life" and "Hope is the thing with feathers" is that hope is described slightly differently. Dickinson suggests hope is something special inside the soul of every being; it comforts the people drowning in sadness without asking something back from them in return. While Bronte says situations in life might seem like they are going downhill and you might feel like you're at your worst but the hope that you thought died will spring back up and help you conquer your sorrows. Bronte interestingly slightly shifts the tone when she mentions death taking our loved ones away. This strengthens Bronte's message of the poem because death is a stern topic that everyone can relate to in some way, focusing all the readers attention to what the poem's messages is trying to portray. Bronte's poem helps captivate the reader with the flow of the poem through rhyme. Every stanza has a different rhyme scheme. The first stanza's rhyme scheme is ABCBDEDE, second stanza is ABCB, and the third stanza is ABABCDCDEFEF. In contrast Dickinson's poem uses roundabout rhymes instead of neatly rhyming everything like Bronte had; although she does not have the flow to the poem she can still captivate her readers attention through her roundabout rhymes.


What the reader can take from both poems is, that hope is a never- ending force within us that can help us open our eyes to see that there will never be a bad situation that lasts a life time, everything will pass. Even when the odds are and we see only negative signs pointing toward a bad situation we need to have hope so that even on the darkest of days we will continue to take that next step forward, no matter how hard it may be, in pursuit of something better.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Analysis of the Concept of Hope in the Poems Life and Hope is a Thing with Feathers. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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