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“The Soul Selects Her Own Society” by Emily Dickinson Essay

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Updated: Feb 3rd, 2022

Introduction

“The soul selects her own society” is a poem written by, Emily Dickinson, in 1862. The poem has three stanzas with four lines in each stanza. It engages slant rhyme of ABAB in each stanza. Lines in this poem have two units. The poem presents a character that is “soul” and another represented by “divine Majority.” The poem dramatizes the actions and effects of the “soul” on the “society.” In this poem, the main theme of the poem is exclusion, demonstrating aspects of rhyme, imagery and great symbolism.

The Soul Selects Her Own Society

The poem “The Soul Selects Her Own Society” illustrates the aspect of choice and exclusion as per the inner and superficial composition of an individual. Choice according to the presentation involves selection of the likings of the individual while also locking out the rest. “Then shuts the door,” illustrates the theme of exclusion, closure of the door. As shown by the statement “on her divine majority,” elimination of a variety of alternatively good options stresses the element of choice and exclusion. The soul chooses to uphold its selection of solitude. The authority to choose consciously as brought out by “select” in this poem depicts the “soul.” Upon her selection, the “soul” is immovable, and no further alteration of choice can be made. “Obtrude no more”. The presence of chariots and emperors at the gates of the “soul” highlights reinforcement of the solidity of the “soul.” The speaker in this poem dramatizes that the presence of chariots and emperors, notably regarded as influential cannot sway the decision of the “soul.” Statements such as “unmoved”, “Like stone” and “an emperor kneeling” demonstrate rigidity of the “soul.” The “soul” stresses as paying no further attention according to “then close the valves of her attention.” It is evidently vivid as per the speaker’s illustration that elements of choice and seclusion are the most outstanding themes in the poem. The themes allude to the real situations that individuals face during decision making. The firmness on sticking to the choice made emphasized by the speaker in the poem. The poem acknowledges the presence of other persuasive forces that have the ability to deter one’s process of decision making.

Symbolism is evident to a great extent in the poem. The “gates”, “doors” and “stone” are to a larger extent standing to represent the closed impression or attitude directed towards attachment to compelling or persuasive forces that challenge an individual’s decision. The speaker illustrates the “soul” as having selected a single option from the “ample nation.” It symbolizes the variety of alternatives available for selection. The persona uses “Chariots” and “emperor” in this context to symbolize the esteem and compelling power held by left out “society.” Capitalization of words in the poem such as Soul, Society, Door, Majority, Chariots, Gates, Emperor, Mat, One, Valves and Stone does not come out as an error, but the speaker of the poem dwells mainly on them in bringing out the message. This symbolizes their importance in this context as intended. The tone of the persona portrays solitude. The choice of a single “One” option in contrast with the presence of other choices symbolizes the upholding or content of maintaining a sole choice by locking out the rest (Dickinson & Helen, 16).

Rhythm is available in the poem, in the form of ABAB in each stanza. The author injects flow and creates an appealing relationship with the reader through rhyme. Stanza uniformity is also enhanced and serves to impress the reader.

Imagery, in this poem, reinforces the key statement that the author intends to bring to light. The use of “Gates” and “Door” shows the firmness of the decision made by the “soul.” It is the nature of gates and stones to be strong so as to limit entrance. It is in this light that the two have been incorporated in the poem by the author. Chariots are viewed as the most grandeur way of transportation, and Emperors considered holding a considerable amount of power. The worthiness of the two is an imagery impression intended to show the strength of persuasion directed to the choice made by the “soul.” However, the speaker underlines them as lacking the might to sway the choice made by the “soul.” An image of individual rejecting offers to influence her choice is created in the mind. The use of imagery in this poem alludes to the impressions likely to be encountered by individuals in making an affirmative choice. It intends that the grandest offers cannot swing the reader to the opposite of his intentions. “Divine” intends to result to the creating an impression in the reader’s mind. It shows the alternatives as not being at fault morally for failure to be selected. The reader associates divinity with being clear of blame (Hoffman, 18).

Conclusion

The poem is visually appealing to the reader, short statements, with hyphenation characterizing the poem. However, the author intends to air the message even with the limited selection of words. In an effort to achieve that, the author incorporates writing techniques use of imagery and symbolism in the poem. Wording of the poems is systematic so as to present the message in order and systematically. Use of rhyme serves its purpose as it appears in each stanza. Sound effects and visual patterns show considerable effectiveness by the author in the poem “The Soul Selects Her Own Society.”

References

Dickinson, Emily, and Helen Vendler. Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries. Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010. Print

Hoffman, Nicole. “The Soul Selects Her Own Society.” Sunstone. 7.2 (1982): 64. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "“The Soul Selects Her Own Society” by Emily Dickinson." February 3, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-soul-selects-her-own-society-by-emily-dickinson/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) '“The Soul Selects Her Own Society” by Emily Dickinson'. 3 February.

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