I Am Nobody Who You Are by Emily Dickinson


The first stanza of the poem describes the speaker’s encounter with another “nobody” – a friend. The two nobodies can share their anonymity and enjoy one another’s company. They are nobodies no longer when they are paired. That is why the speaker says,  “Don’t tell! / They ‘d banish us, you know. She recognises that once another “nobody” joins forces with you, you are no longer truly a “nobody.” And she is not interested in being exiled or expelled from what she perceives to be a society of nobodies. She appears at ease in that location.

The tone of the poem shifts significantly in the second stanza. Confident, the speaker appears. Perhaps it is her discovery that there are others like her – other “nobodies” – that convinces her that becoming a “someone” is not such a good idea. She realises that having a friend who understands and accepts you for who you are is more important than being popular or belonging to the “in” crowd.

The speaker also makes an unusual comparison in the poem’s second stanza. According to her, being someone is comparable to being a frog. What is the connotation of this simile? Apart from Kermit, not many famous frogs exist. Why has the speaker chosen that amphibian as her public creature’s representative? This is due to the fact that frogs make a great deal of noise. According to the poem, frogs, despite their ability to croak and be heard and noticed, are only noticed by “an admiring bog.” The bog serves as the frog’s habitat, not as a friend. Therefore, who gives a damn what the bog has to say?

That is what the poem means when it refers to being “someone” who attracts the attention of an admiring public. Often, the relationship is impersonal and distant, not at all like a genuine friendship. While some individuals may amass a large number of admirers, they may be unable to form the personal bonds that true friendship provides.

Emily Dickinson almost certainly wrote from the heart when she wrote “I’m nobody! Who are you?” She was a notoriously reclusive figure in American literature. Except for one trip to Philadelphia, one to Washington, D.C., and a few trips into Boston, Dickinson spent nearly her entire 56 years in her hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts. She never left the confines of her family’s Amherst property after reaching the age of 40. Dickinson developed an affinity for people who regard themselves as outsiders and insignificant as a result of this unusual life. To think of her as a lonely hermit, on the other hand, would be inaccurate. Indeed, the poet developed a few close and enduring friendships. These significant relationships exemplify the central theme of “I’m Nobody”: companionship is the most effective antidote to feelings of exclusion.

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Analysis of Am Nobody Who You Are by Emily Dickinson

The poem talks about the theme that it is preferable to be a humble nobody than a proud somebody. After all, somebody has to spend their time demonstrating their greatness to the world. How boring!

The poem’s content is about the author confronting another person with the fact that she is a nobody in the poem’s very first line. She is adamant and confident in revealing her true identity. She then inquires as to the other person’s identity. She assumed the other person was also a nobody, and then she began accepting and conversing with the other person, referring to them as “a pair of us” and “don’t tell”. These lines illustrate the author’s society’s selection of friends or social communications: only those with similar social statuses interact. The terms “don’t tell” and “banish” imply that a fine line exists between two social classes: somebody and nobody.

The poem’s first stanza describes how the speaker meets a fellow “nobody” — a friend. The two nobodies can share their anonymity and enjoy each other’s company. They are nobodies as a pair, but they are nobodies individually. That is why the speaker says, “Don’t tell! /They would banish us!” She recognises that once you have another “nobody” by your side, you are no longer truly a “nobody.” And she has no desire to be exiled or expelled from what she perceives to be a society of nobodies. The second stanza alters the poem’s tone. The speaker appears to be confident. Perhaps it is her discovery that there are others like her — other “nobodies” — that convinces her that being a “somebody” is a bad idea. She realises that having a friend who understands and accepts you for who you are is more important than garnering widespread admiration or belonging to the “in” crowd.

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This poem’s first line is intriguing because the narrator is defining himself through nothing. “Nobody” denotes the lack of a physical form. The poem takes on the tone of a conversation between the Narrator of Nobody and an unnamed third party. This is almost a way for nothingness to have a voice; even in the absence of a form, then nothing has a voice that is something. Nobody inquires in the second line if we, the reader, are also Nobody. Nobody continues by stating that if we respond that we are also nobody, we are not alone, as we are now two of nobody. This could be a stage in the evolution of society. Two of the same form a clique of nothing. Additionally, this could be a parallel to race or any underprivileged minority banding together. A minority has the same influence in society as a majority until it joins forces with other minorities to overthrow the majority. Due to the fact that this poem was written during the Civil War, which was about defending the minority (African slaves) and giving them a voice, the Civil War’s influence may be visible in this poem. Nobody begins enforcing a rule against advertising the existence of the Nobodies in the fourth line. Once a Nobody is identified, does it cease to be a Nobody and becomes, in fact, a somebody? Someone is becoming known and developing expectations as a result of their status. Clearly, the Narrator does not wish for this. The following line, the sixth, caused me considerable difficulty and necessitated considerable thought. How public is a frog? I believe it is because a frog can be quite vocal, which is how its mate and others locate it. You can hear a frog much more frequently than you can see it. However, a small creature with such a strong voice can be made known to its predators, which is perhaps what Nobody is attempting to avoid. When someone vocalises themselves, they become known to both their enemies and their friends. “To an admiring Bog, a long June!” I believe this simply reflects the frogs, and June is the time of year when they are most vocal in their search for a mate. This, however, contradicts the notion that nobody finds each other by remaining silent together.

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The second analysis is of a device as a collection of three components: structural devices, sensing devices, and sound devices. After analysing this poem, it is clear that the poem’s structural devices are contrastive, as each stanza contains an image that is diametrically opposed to the previous stanza. Because the poem is structured, the themes run from beginning to end of each line. The poem details the experiences of outsiders and conformists.

This poem only has one sense of metaphor (line 6, 7, 8) “How public – like a Frog –, To tell one’s name – the livelong June, To an admiring Bog!”. In the third device, sound devices, I just analyze the Alliteration and Rhyme Scheme. The Alliteration is found in“Then there’s (line 3), They’d banish us, you know (line 4), How dreary to be somebody (line 5), How public, like a frog (line 6), and To tell your name the live long day (line 7)”. The rhyme scheme of this poem A, A, B, C, D, E, F, E In the poem the 1st and 2nd line of the 1st stanza rhymes so that would be A, A, and the next 2 lines don’t rhyme so it would be B, C. In the 2nd stanza, the 2nd and 4th line rhyme that’s why there the same letter E. But line 1 and 3 don’t rhyme so that would make line 1 D, and line 3 F. This affects the poem because it makes the poem sound and feel really good, and it just rolls off your tongue.

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