Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Close Reading (T-minus 3 classes)

Time to get serious about this blogging business.

Emily Dickinson- I'm Nobody! Who are you?

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us?
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

The passage, in relation to the poem as a whole, is Dickinson's discovery of another 'nobody'; the later half of the poem is a reflection on how she would never want to be a 'somebody.'

I think this passage sounds great, and the narrator has such a strong voice that it can't help but come through in the reading. The repeating vowel sounds 'oh', 'ou' in the first two lines give a great sense of unity, as does the repetition of the words 'nobody' and 'you'. The fact that Dickinson is also addressing a second person gives the reader a sense of intimacy, alienating them from the 'they' (the 'somebody's) she speaks of.

Most importantly, I think that the punctuation adds to the mood of the poem. The poem is strongly iambic because of how it's punctuated--after ever stressed syllable, a dash, comma, or question mark is put into place. Through this, the reader is forced to read the poem a certain way that really adds to the poem's food. Especially through this passage, Dickens is excited upon her discovery--and through her stilted speech, this becomes apparent. There's a very urgent feel to it, like Dickinson has finally found someone to confide in and just needs to unload: again, adding to the intimacy.


samantha_kinosh said...

I think that the whole intimacy factor that you keep playing into is very accurate. Intimacy is key in this poem because it draws the reader in a way, like you say, that separates them from the "somebodys" that she pulls away from.
One question I have is about the second line of the passage you excerpted. Why is the "Nobody" capitalized? Is it maybe to emphasis the significance of being a nobody?

AmyD. said...

I definitely would not have noticed the repitition of the oh sound but now that you mention it, I also notice that it has a kind of childlike sound to it. If you read the few lines out loud, the oh sound almost seems to be exaggerated because of the secretive tone of the poem.