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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Her Letter to the World


Please read the following poem by Emily Dickinson and respond to the questions below:

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

What inferences could you make from this poem about Emily Dickinson as a poet and a person? Examine also her picture above and comment on her expression, clothing, and/or overall appearance. How does she strike you?

35 Comments:

Blogger OfAThousandSuns said...

She seems incredibly lonely, like she has so much that wants to give to the world, but is only able to do through writing. She feels like people just look through her or ignore, but from her picture she seems rather detached from society, yet not bothered by it. She also seems like she is plain and modest.

2:18 PM  
Blogger OfAThousandSuns said...

She seems incredibly lonely, like she has so much that wants to give to the world, but is only able to do through writing. She feels like people just look through her or ignore, but from her picture she seems rather detached from society, yet not bothered by it. She also seems like she is plain and modest.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Spencer Z said...

She doesn't seem bitter about the fact that nature hasn't given her a tangible message, instead she contents herself with the sublime display of beauty and majesty that nature shows her. She pleads for this reason that her fellow man not judge her for her eccentricities because she has only love in her heart.

She seems to me to be a very pensive and lonely woman. Her face and clothes are plain but the expression on her face seems deep and calm. She strikes me as a rather intellectual person.

2:22 PM  
Blogger nathan a said...

Like most great artists, she looks like a tormented soul. She gains understanding from what she sees around her in a way that makes her very different then other people. Unlike many artists though, I think she resents this. “this is my letter to the world that never wrote to me” She is so overwhelmed with emotion which is shown in her poetry. I mean no disrespect when I say that she is probably one of history’s most moody brilliant people. She gains relief from her loneliness by pouring herself out into her writing.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Alyssag said...

I think that she is sort of like the olden day hippi. She appears as if she doesn't really care about appearance, and is content with who she is becuase of the plain expression on her face, as well as her plain clothing. Also, I think that her connection with nature makes her a down to earth, but really passionate person.

"Her message is committed to hands I cannot see;" I dont fully understand what this means, but my inference is that Emily works through nature, wanting to help people that she cannot reach or know of. I think that her poetry will mostly be about the world and the people in it.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Jessica K said...

I believe Emily Dickinson was a very unique almost strange person for her time. It seems she had a better understanding of life and nature than just the superficial and judgemental qualities that can exsist in some people. I can tell that she wants to convey this to the world and so she writes however the people she writes for only judge.

This deep understanding that she has is a reason for the plain appearance and her calm and confident expression. She is content with herself and doesn't need to hide behind looks.

4:47 PM  
Blogger christine b. said...

I agree with Spencer in that she is not bitter however she does seem lonely. She sees the beauty that nature "commits" to men and their admiration of it, however they don't admire her. She conveys the message that she wants to be loved, and not ignored.

In the picture, she looks as if she wants to be noticed. Her eyes are filled with desire to let out her soul. This gives me the impression that she was shy and she let out her feelings through her poems because eyes are said to be the doorway to one’s soul.

4:53 PM  
Blogger kaitlinb said...

She feels as if she is reaching out to the world and they are responding back with nothing. I would asume that she feels not a part of society as Micheal says and that her duty is to her country but what will her county do for her. She is also bitter with nature as she feels nature has something to give her and isn't doing so.

4:55 PM  
Blogger emilee p said...

In this poem Dickinson simply writes down her thoughts about nature; it is honest yet poetic. I think that this tells us that she was a private person, who used poetry to share her feelings with others. In this poem, when she puts her personal thoughts about the greatness of nature into words, readers get a slight glimpse into her life

In the picture her clothes are pretty plain and ordinary compared to others in that time period. Her expression is also plain, however her eyes seem kind of lonely. (I don’t know why, but there also seems to be a sort of evil genius smirk on her face)

5:17 PM  
Blogger Anoel said...

She seems very shy, reserved, and almost bitterly alone. I assume that she was, since she was talking about how the whole word didn't think she existed. She seems to love nature. I think that she was unbothered with her appearance, since she had no one to impress. Her hair is modest, she dresses in dark grey, covering dresses, and it seems to me that she is just a face in the crowd.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Kelly O said...

She seems very lonely and reserved. She has so much to give to the world, but the world is not giving anyhthing back. She has a strong connection with nature, but it seems like she has become bitter toward it because its "message is commited to hands I cannont see". I think she feels isolated in the world. The way she describes not being able to see nature's message makes me think that she believes others can see it but not her. She also feels that her countrymen judge her and isolate her. In her picture she seems a little isolated from society. Her face and clothes are very plain. I don't think she connected with people very well, so she used her poetry to express her feelings.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Monique R said...

She seems like someone who has accepted her place in life when she states 'the world, that never wrote to me' but also cares how others view her when she says 'judge tenderly of me!' I think she, by posing for a picture in plain clothing, displays the fact that she doesn't try to impress others with material things, and seems kind of down to earth, like Alyssa said, when she writes about Nature in her poem. She seems like an interesting person who could tell the truth about a lot of subjects.

7:00 PM  
Blogger JordanL said...

I think the poem shows that she really likes nature and really connects with it. Her poems are really deep but simple and convey a lot about her. As a person she seems very alone like Spencer said. She looks like her eyes have a fire in them but she looks so quiet and reserved and doesn't know how to release her inner fire except through poetry. Her face looks like she is longing for something and very peaceful.

7:39 PM  
Blogger BessieS said...

She seems lost and lonely. I think she was misunderstood and wanted people to notice her and love her for who she was. I agree with Spencer that she is not bitter about her relationship with nature but I think that she used writing to ease her feelings of loneliness a disconnection from the world. Her clothing suggests that she is closed off and maybe uptight but the look on her face is soft and there is a longing in her eyes.

7:43 PM  
Blogger mackenzieL said...

To me, this poem shows explains why people do not understand Emily Dickenson that well...she is a mystery. In this poem she tells the world why she does not connect with it very well (as she said, the world never wrote to her, which means she does not "click" with how the world was at the time); she connects better with nature. Her last line shows that she wants other people to be OK with that and not judge her harshly because of it. Perhaps this is why she became a poet, she could escape to the reality of her poems instead of the reality of the world where she did not fit in.

In the picture, she looks content with who she is but like many people have said, she looks lonely for people, or the world, which does not accept her. The last line of her poem seems to be a plea for people to accept her the way she is so she can escape from this loneliness.

7:46 PM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

If broken into sections, the poem appears to reveal several things about Emily:
In the first two lines, she seems to be a lonely person, but not resentful or angry. "That never wrote to me" doesn't contain malice, but is only a simple, factual statement.
Emily portrays Nature and its messages in a positive light, and it seems that she believes the fundatmentals of life can be found by looking in a garden, walking through the woods, or sitting beneath a tree. Simplicity comes to mind.
The final four lines imply that she lived a rather solitary life, but she doesn't seem to be a misanthrope. Rather, she is pleading for the world not to judge her and to think kindly of her.
Emily appears rather vulnerable and fragile in her portrait, but her eyes hold strength. The flower in her hand reinforces her love of nature.
Emily seems to have a natural intuition about emotions and thoughts. Although her poetry is lined with sadness, there is a quiet independence and confidence that makes me think Emily was a woman of great courage and determination.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Erin G said...

She seems to feel invisible or forgotten. She seems to love nature and wish to pass its "news" to others without their judgement. As others have said, I believe the only way she could share herself was through her writing. Her clothes seem very modest as does her hair. Her espression is very blank, but her eyes seem to hold many feelings. Her eyes look like she feels sort of trapped, but also that she has hope.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Sarah P said...

About the picture, i think that she looks shocked and almost just suprised. The way she dresses clearly shows that this portrait was taked a LONG time ago,

and because of the last line in the poem...it seems like her self confidence is not very high. Also, the subject changes in this poem from "my letter" to her message." is there a reason for that?

8:30 PM  
Blogger Jordyn S said...

From this poem I would infer that Dickinson is a real recluse. She seems to be able to feed her fire of disorientation and primitive nature by writing to the world, even if it only makes sense to herself in her head. She says that the world never writes back, as if the world has completely shut her out, she didn’t choose to be an outcast rather it was forced upon her. Then it transformed into her whole solitary way of life. Along with this life came her relation to nature. I think she shows that she finds a stronger bond to nature than in the material world that she lives in. Nature never turned its back on her, and she finds comfort in being able to create whatever she wants from the only thing that will listen to what she has to say. I believe if Dickinson were to write an essay of place for Ms. Kakos, it would be about nature, because it was her escape from everything and everybody else. I think Dickinson puts her message out to “hands that she cannot see” hoping that it gets to someone who will take the time to read into her plea at the end (“For love of her, sweet countrymen, Judge tenderly of me!”) and realize that she fears that man is destroying nature for our own developments, and that if this environment goes down, she will go down too because she will lose the thing that matters most to her.

Dickinson exhibits a very unconventional style of dress, plain, but different from the rest in a way that is unique to her. She seems incredibly unhappy, but her hair being pulled back says to me that she isn’t trying to hide any anguish in her face. (she also displays her unhappiness in her writing as well, so it seems like she wants people to notice these things) I don’t think that will make sense the way it does to me, but oh well. I also agree with Erin G that her eyes give off an impression that she is trapped, but still with a glimpse of hope.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Sarah D said...

She feels as if the world is not responding to her writing as she desires it to be. She doesn’t crave attention or recognition, she craves people to be touched by her work. She wants the world to stop and think about what she says in her writing.
Her clothes are plain and simple. She doesn’t want people looking at her because of her exterior. Her loneliness is apparent in her facial expression. She longs for the world to see what she has to offer and for people to get to know who she is, regardless of her clothes.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Megan D said...

I think that she was an interesting person, she knew what she wanted, but the world may not have been ready for her ideas. I think that she would have been considered a strange person to be living in that time, and that she wasn't understood. She doesn't seem angry or hurt that the people she is around look down on her all the time, but she uses it to make her writing all the more meaningful.

8:38 PM  
Blogger erinl said...

I also believe that she is lonely. When she says, "This is my letter to the world,/ That never wrote to me", she seems to be saying that she feels alone in this world. It is almost as if she wants to love but she feels the world will not love her back. I agree with Spenzer when he says, "She pleads for this reason that her fellow man not judge her for her eccentries because she has only love in her heart" because in the poem she basically says,'Don't be so harsh on me because I only have love for you'. She seems very smart, but that she keeps to herself about it.

8:38 PM  
Blogger clay w said...

She strikes me as an odd woman, one who does not normally fit in and either has a grudge against the world or simply is someone who wishes to be alone most of the time. The poem says that she recognizes the simple and subtle beauties of nature and that she might have believed in God or a Higher Power. She said that nature's message was committed to hands that she could not see, and the only messages nature carries are those of its Creator. She seems like a very kind person, judging by her appearance, but not one to conform to what society calls normal.

8:43 PM  
Blogger shannon a said...

I agree with Spencer when he says that she does not seem bitter. I get the feeling that she just longs to see who the hands belong to. And judging by her clothes she is a very simple lady and that shows in her poem. It takes you to a place that you can understand very easily.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Jennifer W said...

I agree with michael, she seems like she was a lonely person. Also, in her letter to the world, she doesn't seem affected by it. She couldn't care less if it responded or not. It appears that she doesn't care what people think about her either. (in the line, "Judge tenderly of me!")Her appearance is very stuffy looking and perfect, like she wouldn't bend the rules for anyone. She looks very smart and unbothered by the world around her.

8:45 PM  
Blogger jessicam said...

Her poem, or this poem in particular, seems to have elements of romanticism in it; and seems optimistic. Emily Dickinson herself seems to be a reserved women, who also has a bold streak to her, and poetry is her way of opening up to the world. Her clothes make her seem very old fashioned, in lifestyle and mentality too. Yet overall, she seems like a pleasant person.

9:15 PM  
Blogger J Hunt said...

She was probably a little misuderstood and definately lonely. She liked nature and prbobaly spent a lot of time in nature and maybe wrote a lot of her poems about it. She feels judged by others and is bothered by it.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Lauren F. said...

I think that Emily Dickinson was not very well liked by many people. She was alone most of the time and implies that she was ignored by the rest of the world but didn't seem to care a whole lot about it and that she lived in her own little world. She strikes me as a unique person but also someone that can get annoying at times; along with trying to have manners and being polite.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Kyle N said...

She seems as if she is alone in the world, and that someone has not cared about her or loved her for a long, long time. Like Michael said, it seems as if people simply look right through her, and she goes unnoticed. At the same time, however, she notices the extroardinary flaws of society, and, although she is lonely, she is happy (in a wierd sense of the word) that she does not suffer from the materialistic ways like the rest of society.

10:00 AM  
Blogger BessieS said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:18 AM  
Blogger ryan f said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:20 AM  
Blogger ryan f said...

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10:23 AM  
Blogger ryan f said...

Emily seems like she is very...disturbed. Her poetry is so simple and so basic, that it leaves a haunting and lonely feel to every word. Her words are few and I think that shows how she is so personal and reserved. Her outfit and manor is very conservative and modest, she looks kind of aloof and spacey.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Chris B said...

Well, i posted this awhile ago, but some how it got deleted....SO!

I think that this says that she has a lot to say but doesnt have the ability to say it. It sounds like that she may have been made fun of or hurt and shes asking people to not judge her so harsh. I think shes sad and wants to find her place in the world.

9:48 AM  
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6:37 AM  

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