Before I Got My Eye Put Out Analysis Emily Dickinson

Before I Got My Eye Put Out Analysis: In Before I got my Eye Put Out, the speaker is hinted to be a person who is blinded metaphorically.

The whole poem seems to revolve around the central conceit of Sight and Ownership, and how the narrator wishes to have control over the world around her.

In the first stanza, the narrator takes to reminiscing about the time “Before [she] got [her] eye put out” (line 1), talking about how she liked seeing as much as creatures who knew no other way.

This sentiment is continued throughout the whole first stanza, and all the way up till the middle of the second stanza, where it seems to suggest that sight, unlike what some might believe, maybe overwhelming and thus carry negative connotations.

It brings forth the adage of “seeing is believing”, whereby the narrator wishes that she see less, as what she already sees is much too overwhelming for her.

In fact, she repeats this idea in the last stanza, where she says “So safer – guesses – with just my soul/Opens the window pane/Where other creatures put their eyes -/Incautious – of the Sun -” (line 18-21).

This aversion to light suggests that she in fact is scared of what she sees, and rather wishes to be “Opon [her] windowpane” rather than outside of it looking at the sun.

Key to Emily Dickinson’s poems are usually the underlying meaning hidden within the fifth stanza, which seems to suggest that the narrator wishes to take a step back and watch “other creatures put their eyes” near the Sun, instead of doing so herself.

This suggests again her desire to have control, as she wishes to be able to control how others feel as well as how she feels.

If we refer the central conceit as describing the sight and its relationship to the narrator’s desire for ownership, the key writer’s choice that I believe Emily Dickinson uses would be repetition.

Before I Got My Eye Put Out Analysis

The emphasis repetition places on the possessive aspect of life is shown through examples such as when she (the narrator) says “The Meadows – mine – The Mountains – mine-” (line 9-10).

This in itself seems obsessive, the repetition of the word “mine”; it suggests an almost childish, naive tone in how the narrator wishes to control all aspects of her life, even those that are undeniably out of reach.

However, there was another writer’s choice that Emily Dickinson utilizes a lot throughout this poem would be an allusion. When she mentions the meadows and the mountains, she seems to be looking for a place to calm down; natural scenery tends to evoke a sense of calmness and relaxation.

Repetition slows down the speed of the poem, causing the reader to stop and take a breath in between describing the meadows and the mountains, allowing the reader to have a chance to think about what the narrator is trying to say.

The deliberate slowing-down of the poem helps induce a calm mood.
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