Comparison Of Imagery In 'Our Lives Are Swiss' By Emily Dickinson

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The poem, "Our Lives Are Swiss" (1859) by Emily Dickinson and the short story, "Wakefield" (1835) by Nathaniel Hawthorne both tell very different stories, however, both express the complexities and complications of human desire. In "Our Lives Are Swiss", Emily Dickinson uses imagery to write of the narrator 's longing for Italy, the exciting land behind the alps. As the poem progresses, she uses metaphor to make it clear that it isn 't Italy that holds the narrator 's interest, but the alps themselves, which become a symbol for the unattainable."The solemn Alps-/ The siren Alps"(8-10), are what Dickinson finds so intriguing. In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's "Wakefield", the main character, Mr. Wakefield deserts his wife for twenty years
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Emily Dickinson uses imagery in "Our Lives Are Swiss" to clarify her point by creating an image of two different pieces of land separated by a significant barrier. The most important image she creates is over the alps. If not for Dickinson 's use of the word "siren" to describe the alps, the reader would go on to see the alps as a nuisance standing between her and her dream. In comparing the alps to mythical creatures that are known for their seductiveness, irresistibility, and deadliness, Dickinson makes it clear that it is not the excitement of Italy or the calmness of Switzerland that calls out to her, but the impossible, deadly place in between. In "Wakefield", Hawthorne uses imagery to aid with foreshadowing and to express …show more content…
For the time this little incident is dismissed without a thought, but long afterward, when she has been more years a widow than a wife, that smile recurs and flickers across all her reminiscences of Wakefield 's visage. In her many musings she surrounds the original smile with a multitude of fantasies which make it strange and awful; as, for instance, if she imagines him in a coffin, that parting look is frozen on his pale features; or if she dreams of him in heaven, still his blessed spirit wears a quiet and crafty smile. Yet for its sake, when all others have given him up for dead, she sometimes doubts whether she is a widow. (Hawthorne 2)
This particular scene illustrates the love and devotion that Wakefield chooses to leave behind in search of a more fulfilling existence. Before the reader is introduced to Wakefield 's plan, s/he is introduced to Mrs.Wakefield 's feelings along with a vague introduction to her experience after her husband 's departure. This use of imagery sets up a foundation for the story to

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