Emily Dickinson poem analysis: 236

In poem 236 Emily Dickinson feels as though she has found a greater sense of faith and better relationship with God in her home, than anyone can get from going to Church weekly and observing other rituals set in place by and establishment. She starts with a contrast saying that some “keep the Sabbath by going to Church” but she keeps it by “staying at Home”. The words themselves in this phrase are not difficult to understand, but an impoimgresrtant detail is the capitalisation. She capitalises “Church” which is not un-expected, but then she capitalises the word “Home” as well. This choice draws a comparison to her home and church, suggesting that her homeĀ isĀ her church. As Emily Dickinson often does, she then references nature, referring to a “Bobolink” (a song bird) as her “Chorister” (a choral singer), and an “orchard” as “a Dome”. She uses synecdoche her as a dome would be referring to a church as a whole not just the roof. Both of these lines are examples of Dickinson replacing the physical or traditional structure of a church service and replacing then with nature; something that she finds more soothing and spiritual. She proceeds to criticise the church’s extravagance by saying that “Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice” (a ceremonial robe worm by clergymen), but she just wears her “Wings”. The use of “Wings” here could serve as a comparison between herself as an angel or bird perhaps, but either way she is calling out organised religion for its pomp. She takes it to yet another level still in the final stanza by saying, “God preaches, a noted clergyman- and the sermon is never long”. Dickinson asserts that she feels a direct connection to God, and that she needs no priest or reverend to interpret for her, and then inserts a jab at longwinded boring sermons. This statement is quite bold as some could view it as heretical in the way she almost acts as a prophet through her direct connection with God. She closes the poem with, “So instead of getting to Heaven, at last, I’m going, all along”. Dickinson doesn’t need to prove her faith by going to church every Sabbath to earn her salvation, but rather she knows that she is saved all along. The overall poem shows that she does identify with God and perhaps subscribes to certain Christian beliefs, but does not see the organised church as a necessary part of her life.

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