After great pain is a poem by Emily Dickinson. The writer is an astute student in the field of human psychology. In her poem ‘after great pain, Dickinson tries to talk about the pains that people undergo after something bad has happened to them. She is notably specific on her choice of words so as to be able to send her message better. To be able to clear out her message, Dickinson expounds on the numbness a person feels after being hit by something. The numbness in this context may be used so show how the body uses it as a tool of getting over pain.
As in physical instances, a numb muscle is at a better chance to stand pain as opposed to a part which just undergoes pain without any numbness. The physical pain can be compared to the emotional pain that a person undergoes, ‘numbness’ of the heart is essential so as to be able to see a person through the emotional trauma. At the end, Dickinson shows the process of healing from an emotional breakdown; a person first must undergo the pain, and then think about the pain and its causes and it is only after that that a person is able to let go of the pain. The following essay will analyze Dickinson’s poem taking into consideration the poetic and stylistic devices that she has used to make her poem a must read.
Dickinson uses several poetic devices to make her poem achieve its purpose. She uses alteration in (line 1) for ‘f’ sound (formal feeling), and in (lines 2, 3 and 4,) the s sound. This alliteration is used to create emphasis on the issue that the poet is trying to put across. Rhyming is also used in the poem, (lines 1and 2) stanza 1comes and tombs. The rhyming is used to emphasize on how the feelings of heart brokenness are as still as tombs. Similes are also used in the poem for example sit ceremonious like tombs (line 2 stanza 1), quartz contentment like a stone (line 5 stanza 2). The similes are used to create emphasis, how the nerves are still as tombs which show numbness and stability and immobility like a stone. Dickinson also uses symbolism ‘He’ (line 3 stanza 1) symbolizing Christ. The speaker is not sure if Christ had under gone such pain as compared to what he/she was feeling. The feet (line 1 stanza 2) symbolizing movements that people have in their day to day lives. Irony is used in (line 5 stanza 2). Quartz is a mineral and does not have any feelings. Dickinson also uses oxymoron in (line 1 stanza 3) hours of lead. Lead is a heavy metal hence it shows how the hours drag themselves due to their heaviness. Quartz contentment in (line 5 stanza 2) is also an oxymoron since quartz does not have feelings.
The theme of the poem is emotional pain. Emotional pain is caused by many sources. Be it betrayal, physical suffering among others. The time which a person undergoes the pain always seem to drag itself and this may seem as a means of making the sufferer undergo more pain. Dickinson in this poem tries to emphasize this by likening the hours to hours of lead, which are surely due to drag themselves. Dickinson acknowledges that it is not always that a person is able to withstand the pain. This is shown by her statement that the hours of lead are only remembered if and only if they are outlived. This shows that it is not guaranteed that a person will withstand the tough times. At the end of an experience, a person is always weary because of the stresses that come along with the experiences. This is evidenced by Dickson’s likening of the people who outlive the lead hours as freezing people. However after taking sometime with themselves and pondering over the situation, they are able to come into terms with reality.
In conclusion, tough times come with emotional pains and distresses. How people deal with the situation determine to a large extent the chances of them being able to come out of the situations in one piece. Emotional pains are part of the society and no one should live without expecting to face such in their lives. Dickinson in her poem has been able to describe the feelings and experiences that a person who is suffering undergoes. Coming out of a situation is the taxing bit but with proper strategies to deal with the situation, one is always able to outlive the lead hour. After overcoming a situation, one should be able to take some time to ponder over the experience underwent and then let go so as to leave no grudges and dark spots in his or her heart. A great experience by Emily Dickinson is indeed a must read.