Emily Dickinson – I Die for Beauty, but Was Scarce

Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
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I Died for Beauty, but was Scarce Emily Dickinson I died for Beauty -- but was scarce Adjusted in the Tomb When One who died for Truth, was lain In an adjoining room -- He questioned softly "Why I failed"? "For Beauty", I replied -- "And I -- for Truth -- Themself are One -- We Brethren, are", He said -- And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night -- We talked between the Rooms -- Until the Moss had reached our lips -- And covered up -- our names -- Emily Dickerson's poetry often has similar discussion points (Paton).

In a few of her poems, such as “I Died For Beauty," she discusses death. However, while death would normally be considered a negative subject, she tends to take it from a different perspective (Chad). In her poem "I Died for Beauty" Emily Dickerson discusses how beauty and truth are one. The message that she gives the readers is that by being true to who you are, and dying with your values intact, you have lived a full life (Paton). When Emily Dickenson writes; “Adjusted in the Tomb When One who died for Truth, was lain In an adjoining room –“

This gives sight to the reader understanding the speaker hardly had time to adjust to her tomb before a man was laid in another tomb right next to hers’. However the word “Tomb”, gives the poem an effect that makes it feel more cold, dark and even alone (Ulynie). This word is also given more emphasis on because the first letter is capitalized, even though it happens to be the last word in the line. When Dickinson writes; “He questioned softly "Why I failed"? ” we can tell that the man asked the speaker why she died, she replied “"For Beauty... ” the reader then finds out that the man claims to have died for trust and he states that trust and beauty are the same thing, and in turn stating the they are both “Brethren”. Dickinson’s usage of term “Brethren” makes the reader suggest that their relationship is much stronger (Apran) than just an acquaintance and that they are both apart of or a member of this one this, which is death. However their companionship strengthens and we can now see this with the uses of the simile “And so, as Kinsmen met a Night, We talked between the Rooms,” which shows how the walls between their tombs is no obstacle for their communication.

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Also in the excerpt “Until the Moss had reached our lips -- And covered up -- our names --“, which acts as an metaphor, suggests that the connection between the two are so strong that the loss of their speech and identity (symbolized by the moss covering up their names) through death, holds no barrier between them (Simran), as they are now deemed as one through their similar situations. This poem follows many of Dickinson’s typical formal patterns—the ABCB rhyme scheme, the rhythmic use of the dash to interrupt the flow helps to promote this rhythm and give way some rhymes (Chad).

For example notice how some lines such as “’For Beauty’, I replied – ‘And I – for truth--... ” has a certain rhythm to it which is emphasized with the use of dashes. Whereas words such as “Tomb” and “Room”, “Brethren” and “Kinsmen” rhyme together and are also capitalized giving more focus to it in order to show its significance and importance. All of this adds in giving the poem its effect that even though it may seem a bit dark and gloomy there is also so a sense of acceptance and belonging.

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Emily Dickinson – I Die for Beauty, but Was Scarce. (2018, Jan 30). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/emily-dickinson-i-die-for-beauty-but-was-scarce/

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