As Imperceptibly as Grief - Emily Dickinson

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  • As Imperceptibly As Grief
    • Context
      • five of dickinsons school friends died and they were buried in the graveyard beside her house whilst she was living there
      • she spent many years of her life living beside a graveyard and was therefore surrounded by death from a young age (from ages 10 to 25)
      • first line of her poems is always the title
      • poems are alwyays edited to her unconventional style
    • Passing of Time
      • "The Summer lapsed away"
        • time passing is imperceptible and unnoticeable, similar to the passing of her grief, which also happens over time
        • capitalisation of "Summer" - this is a stylistic choice made by Dickinson and is constant throughout her poems, she capitalises ideas she wants to emphasis
          • "Afternoon" to "Dusk" to "Morning"
            • shows how, even as time passes, she is left feeling as empty and hollow as she was before
      • "Afternoon" to "Dusk" to "Morning"
        • shows how, even as time passes, she is left feeling as empty and hollow as she was before
      • "Our Summer made her light escape"
        • the passing of the summer allowed the grief that the speaker felt to pass and start to seem beautiful to her, possibly reflecting how she now feels empty and wants the grief back to fill the hole left behind
      • "at last"
        • the speaker has been waiting a long time for this grief to pass, but now that it has she is unsure what to do and feel
    • Change
      • "Summer lapsed away"
        • the seasons are changing, much like her feelings and approach towards the grief she once felt so strongly
      • "Afternoon" to "Dusk" in the next line to "Morning" in the next line
        • structure and form
          • this formation and sequence of events seems to emphasis the changing world around the speaker as she feels the same, unchanging
        • time is passing around her, whilst she feels unchanged, capitalisation also emphasises this further
      • "Too imperceptible at last"
        • over time she has changed to become almost unaware of the grief once felt and it has faded, leaving her feeling slightly empty
      • "The Morning foreign shone"
        • the change in her stance on grief has made what usually feels normal feel strange and abnormal to her
        • capitalisation of "Morning" is a stylistic choice by Dickinson where in all of her poems she capitalises words she wamys to emphasises
    • Pain and Suffering
      • "imperceptibly
        • the grief felt by the speaker is so bad that she can hardly understand, let alone describe
      • "Too imperceptible at last/ To seem like Perfidy"
        • her grief faded so slowly that it was unnoticeable, and due to this she does not feel like it is a betrayal of the person she is grieving to have lost that feeling of grief
      • "harrowing Grace"
        • she finds the way the universe continues on the same with and without her grief distressing
      • structure and form
        • the poem is made up of short lines which are often hyphenated, which creates an idea of simplicity and slow acceptance of the events
          • "the Summer lapsed away-"
    • Death and Loss
      • "A Quietness distilled"
        • her comfortable feeling of quiet grief has been disrupted by the change and slow passing into acceptance
      • "her light escape/ Into the Beautiful"
        • when she has finally come to accept her grief it has allowed it to become something beautiful, possibly showing how she now feels empty and wants the painful feeling of grief back
      • structure and form
        • the short lines and hyphens could show the slow and painful transition or the speakers reflective and thoughtful mood
        • hyphens are pointing onward towards the unknown
      • "harrowing Grace"
        • the unchanging world around her sends her into a state of distress because the cyclical nature of the universe is unaffected by the loss of her grief


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