Poems by Emily Dickinson

Language Style: Alliteration and Personification

Emily Dickinson uses alliteration to add a sing-song quality into the poetry and make the flow and rhythm more noticeable. It also allows the phrases involved in the alliteration to stick out in the reader´s mind and causes emphasis. Personification is used to help the readers relate to the non-human symbols and objects in the poem by describing them vividly and allowing them to have feelings and human characteristics. This gives the poems a new way to compare the feelings and emotions expressed in the poem.


¨I Can Wade Grief¨

¨Power is only Pain-¨(10)

¨Till Weights-will hang-¨(12)

¨As Imperceptibly as Grief¨

¨The Dusk drew earlier in-¨(9)

¨And thus, without a Wing¨(12)

¨I Measure Every Grief I Meet¨

¨I wonder if it weighs like Mine--¨(3)

¨An imitation of a Light /That has so little Oil--¨(15-16)


¨I Can Wade Grief¨

¨But the least push of Joy¨(4)

¨Let no Pebble-smile-¨(7)

¨As Imperceptibly as Grief¨

¨Or Nature spending time with herself¨(7)

¨Our Summer made her light escape¨(15)

¨I Measure Every Grief I Meet¨

¨I wonder if it (grief) weighs like Mine- /Or has an Easier size.¨(3-4)

¨Death-- is but one-- and comes but once--¨(27)

Syntactical Style: Enjambment

Emily Dickinson uses enjambment in each poem to contrast from the harsh punctuation (dashes) that are used in many lines of the poems. It is an eye-catching way to provide contrast and emphasize certain lines of the poem.


¨I Can Wade Grief¨

¨But the least push of Joy

Breaks up my feet-¨(4-5)

¨As Imperceptibly as Grief¨

¨A Quietness distilled

As Twilight long begun,¨(5-6)

¨I Measure Every Grief I Meet¨

¨A piercing Comfort it affords

In passing Calvary--¨(35-36)


The theme that Emily Dickinson conveyed throughout the three poems was that grief is an unavoidable journey but on the other side of the pain, there is hope and strength. Each poem talks of the struggle and pain of grief. To tie each of the poems together, Dickinson uses the reoccurring motif of grief. In ¨I Measure Every Grief I Meet¨ the main point is about the length of pain and suffering. We can see that the speaker says, ¨I could not tell the Date of Mine--/ It feels so old a pain--¨(7-8). This shows us that sorrow can dwell in you for some time and there will be tribulation. But we learn that it will progress and one will become stronger if you push through the hurt. Even though we learn that healing takes time, the author also expresses that griefs will make you more powerful. At the end of ¨I Can Wade Grief¨ it says, ¨Give Balm-to Giants-/And they´ll wilt, like Men-/ Give Himmaleh-/ They´ll Carry- Him!¨(13-16)This quote enforces the message of redemption and power after a trial. Which leads in to the final message of all three poems: there is always hope and comfort after hardship. ¨As Imperceptibly as Grief¨ expresses this best when it says, ¨Our Summer made her light escape/ Into the Beautiful.¨ (15-16) This represents the grief of the past being looked upon in a new light because they are now in a better place. With each poem, the theme of grief allowed us to discover about hardship and taught the reader that situations will always improve. Grief translates into wisdom and hope later in life.