Analysis Of Emily Dickinson 's Poem ' Loaded Gun ' Essay

1451 Words Sep 13th, 2015 6 Pages
Emily Dickinson, a woman of the 19th century, was preoccupied with poetry and the power of words.
The opening line of the poem My Life had stood- a Loaded Gun is noteworthy for its liberal use of capitalisation. The capitalisation of “My Life” delineates the life of the speaker as the subject of the poem and establishes the poem as autobiographical, positioning the reader the attribute the speaker’s voice to Dickinson both as a woman and as a poet. “Loaded Gun” is presented as a metaphor for the speaker’s life, implying force and power. However, by describing it as merely “Loaded” Dickinson evokes an internal sense of readiness that hints at a foreboding potential. There is also an irony to this potential as the speaker’s life becomes objectified as a gun, and although there is a notion of power, this power is undermined by the gun’s powerlessness without an enabler. This is expanded upon in the second line where it is revealed that the gun had stood unused and unrealized “in corners” until it is picked up by “The Owner”. The language that Dickinson uses to describe the manner in which the gun is enabled implies a casualness that empowers the Owner rather than the Gun itself. The meaning that Dickinson devises here is of an explosive potential contained and controlled within the irony of its object existence. If we accept Dickinson as the narrative voice, then according to Judith Farr (1997) the metaphor of the poem can be read as “a revelation of the limitations…

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