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Thread: Poem Interpretation; What do you think?

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    Poem Interpretation; What do you think?

    As a requirement for a class, I need to get more involved online and post some discussion about Emily Dickinson for our class unit. I would be interested in discussing further, my interpretation of a Johnson numbered poem.


    I'm going to attempt to dissect posm 1197.

    "I should not dare to be so sad
    So many Years again --
    A Load is first impossible
    When we have put it down --

    The Superhuman then withdraws
    And we who never saw
    The Giant at the other side
    Begin to perish now."


    This poem first struck me as something (as Emily Dickinson is so good at) intangibly truthful and appealing. It contains a very raw particle of human nature. In a general summary, my first impression is that Emily is reaching for an often untapped and often unrecognized human potential--something "Superhuman" or "Giant." The first stanza seems pretty direct and something I can relate to my recent volunteer work which involved wheel barrowing loads upon loads of gravel up and down hills and through mud. Point in case, it's easier to keep your momentum, even if you struggle, rather than stop part way and try to pick it up again. "A Load is first impossible/When we have put it down--"

    The second stanza makes me wonder about the Giant and what is the nature of this Giant? Is Emily intimating that the Giant is an obstacle we must overcome which we hadn't seen previously? Or perhaps she's intimating that beneath the exterior guise of a "Superhuman" there is a Giant, be it for good or bad, that we don't recognize. Something akin to the motivation or justification of the means to an end. Or that is to say that beneath every positive there is a negative which covertly fuels that positive. It's very easy to bend and imply and essentially attain "good" for all the "wrong" reasons. Hence the quote "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."



    Alternatively, Emily seems to suggest that her years of sadness and years of heavy burden due to her sadness are not years she wishes to repeat. Because of this, it might be the Superhuman in the way of the Giant. If the Giant is looked at as the circumstance, circumstances often heal or improve on their own; it is the human mindset which forces them to live out their misery. Charles Dickens' Ms Havisham is very good example of this. This suggests that the power of psychology is what inhibits us from the natural process of healing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElementaryProse View Post
    The second stanza makes me wonder about the Giant and what is the nature of this Giant? Is Emily intimating that the Giant is an obstacle we must overcome which we hadn't seen previously? Or perhaps she's intimating that beneath the exterior guise of a "Superhuman" there is a Giant, be it for good or bad, that we don't recognize.
    Is the Giant that innate capacity within us for achieving the Superhuman? A wonderful capacity that surely shrivels and dies with disuse.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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