This Is My Letter To The World

Central Idea: Emily writes a letter to the entire humanity- to all the peoples whether of her own age or ours or some distant future.The world does not remember her because she never stepped foot outside her house / garden. She seems to be able to predict that the people will read her poetry someday. She wants to convey the messages and lessons which nature has taught her. Emily also wants potential readers of her poetry to enjoy nature in the same way as she did (line 7). In the last two lines she asks the readers to enjoy her poems and not to criticize them too harshly (unlike some of the people who have left comments here). The theme / abstract image is Nature and a letter is the concrete image. This is a lovely poem, with a great message

Summary of This Is My Letter To The World

The poem has been written by Emily Dickinson in the form of a letter, as she mentions it in its very beginning, may be addressed to the world, and it may be to the planet Earth or the entire universe, to the reading public, or to all humanity. The beauty of this poem lies in the fact that its interpretation could not be inferred with just one single meaning; what is simply deciphered through the lines is merely the description of the surface, and a richness to which it refers is commendable. It can be read as a narrative poem by which the poet attempts to introduce himself to the environment, “the world,” which never seemed to have acknowledged her or her efforts.

It can, however, be discovered that the poet is never depressed or disheartened by a feeling of disdain. Even if the correspondence is seen as one-sided, it still remains un-reckoned. This poem should have been written at the time when Dickinson began her career as a poet for the first time, and so it could even be read as an expression of the poet who is trying to belong to this world. But Dickinson is continually detaching herself from the human race, being of the introverted kind.

Metaphorically, the epistle presented can be seen as the enclosed document containing the experience of the artist who lived a life of solitude and was misunderstood throughout her life. The closing lines of the first stanza saying” The simple News that Nature told-/ With tender Majesty, may refer to what is contained in her letters. These lines clearly indicate the intentions of the poet, which is to transmit to the world around her what she has learned from nature, the new knowledge. And this is what every great poet desires, through the poetic faculties of his / her mind or aesthetic capacity, to make the unknown world know the uncompleted bounds. The phrase used herein, “tender Majesty,” therefore, explicitly symbolises her desperation.

The second stanza starts with a reference to nature, which continues to indicate Dickinson’s dedication to writing poems about the nature around which she observes. Therefore, nature appears to mean the logos, the supreme power, and the centre, so to speak, according to the perspective of the structuralists, which serves as a driving force for her. The nature, she believes, continues to give her inspiring wisdom in her writings, assisting her as the muse. In other words, poetry may be said to be a means by which Nature communicates to the world; and poet is acting as an imitator in this regard. The “Hands” of which the poet speaks in the running line implies the hands of the future generation, the posterity to which she would leave her legacy, her art, to be deciphered, that which might be meaningful to their lives.

The poem’s closing lines seem to be a plea from the poet, who communicates her wish to have a compassionate interpretation of her letter to the future generation, the “Sweet-countrymen.” In the name of nature itself, the poet makes this appeal, for it is this Nature that has been an inspiring force in the course of her writing career. Nevertheless, this appeal sounds piteous; for it seems to expect from the reader’s side a negative answer. The poem ends with an earnest appeal to the reader to care about the condition of the speaker and show mercy accordingly.

Analysis of the poem

The poem This is My Letter To The World by Emily Dickinson’s is believed to have been written in 1862. It is an instance of meta-poetry. It is self-reflexive in its nature and highlights how it is constructed and why it is being written.

The poem could even be considered as an epistolary preface to her works. The letter, here, can be read as a perfect metaphor, as it is an expressive, eloquent and effective means of communicating one’s thoughts or emotions, a medium through which one can at the same time correspond to one or many. A letter seems to have served her the purpose of communication, a perfect medium by which she could communicate her innermost thoughts, living a lonely existence without maintaining any contact with the outside world. An expression of intense personal and intimate urges, the poem shows a need to express its private observations, reflections and aspirations. It is her asceticism and loneliness that made her test the inner depths of life, expressing those emotions that were realized in writing. As W.B. Yeats once wrote: “When we quarrel with others, we make rhetoric; When we quarrel with ourselves, we make poetry”

Dickinson appears to be resenting her own social isolation in the poem, and a sense of resourcefulness is seen pervading her ultimate reconciliation with the world and with her Creator throughout. Many critics analyzed the poem in a religious context since some phrases/words were capitalized here: “With tender majesty;” “Her Message is committed”; “ To Hands, I cannot see,” suggesting that Dickinson is directly referring to God. The poem can even be understood as a desire on the part of the poet to be fondly remembered despite having walled away from the outside world (“Judge tenderly of Me”).

This Is My Letter To The World – Poetic Devices

Slant rhymes: The words that do not rhyme exactly and uses dashes to highlight important words: “For love of Her- Sweet – Countrymen- ”

Personification: In the poem nature has been personified as, “The simple news that Nature told”, because nature by itself cannot speak. “Her message is committed/ to hands I cannot see”.

Apostrophe: “This is My Letter to the World” – here Dickinson is not exactly addressing herself to every single person in this world. At the same, it can be noted that the world is absent in action because it is not been talked about to have given any sort of feedback to the speaker.

Alliteration: We also found alliteration in the poem. “th” sound in “This is my letter to the World”.

Consonance: The ending “t” sound in “That never wrote to Me”.

In the beginning, Emily uses figurative language, which are words capitalised for emphasis: “This is my Letter to the World”.

Style of This Is My Letter To The World

Emily Dickinson is usually known for brief, epigrammatic poems that are innovative in both style and technique; and while the length is precise, they illuminate the poet’s vast inner life. “This is My Letter to the World” is a typical example of her style, her type and her voice. It is untitled like all her poems, defined simply by its first paragraph. It is a composition of two four-line stanzas, or quatrains, written in rhymed iambic tetrameter and trimeter lines, alternating with each other- a standard form of ballad in which each line consists of six or eight syllables in an unstressed-stressed pattern.
But with this standard form, Dickinson is seen as implying innovation: in the first line, she does not start with an iambic foot but with her opposite, a trochaic (stressed-unstressed) foot that emphasizes “This” the world. Here is illustrated a typical feature of her style, as she dispersed the poem with dashes that break the flow of the lines and give prominence to some words.

Questions And Answers

Q. Explain the meaning of the lines “Her message is committed/To hands I cannot see.” To whose “hands” does the poet refer?

Ans. The poet refers to the hands of the future readers of this “letter”-that is, this poem.

Q. To whom did “Nature” tell “news”? What is the news?

Ans. Nature told “news” to the poet; the news is the content of the poem. The poet is positioning herself as Nature’s scribe.

Q. How does Emily Dickenson’s poem “This is my letter to the world” challenge or support the idea that true belonging comes from shared values?
Ans. Refer to Analysis above.

Q. What important message conveys the poem?
Ans. Refer to central idea above.

Q. What is the style employed by the poet in the poem?
Ans. Refer to the style of the poem above.


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