Last Updated 17 Aug 2022

Hope Is the Thing with Feathers Meaning

Category Hope, Metaphor, Poetry
Words 3694 (14 pages)
1,071 views
Table of contents

“Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson “Hope” is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul….. And sings the tune without the words…..

And never stops…. at all…. And sweetest… in the Gale…. is heard… And sore must be the storm That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm I’ve heard it in the chillest land… And on the strangest Sea Yet, never, in Extremity It asked a crumb …. of Me Dickinson defines hope by comparing it to a bird (a metaphor) . Stanza one Hope is a "thing" because it is a feeling; the thing/feeling is like a bird.Dickinson uses the standard dictionary format for a definition; first she places the word in a general category ("thing"), and then she differentiates it from everything else in that category.

For instance, the definition of a cat would run something like this: a cat is a mammal (the first part of the definition places it in a category); the rest of the definition would be "which is nocturnal, fur-bearing, hunts at night, has pointed ears, etc. (the second part of the definition differentiates the cat from other all mammals). How would hope "perch," and why does it perch in the soul?As you read this poem, keep in mind that the subject is hope and that the bird metaphor is only defining hope. Whatever is being said of the bird applies to hope, and the application to hope is Dickinson's point in this poem. The bird "sings. " Is this a good or a bad thing? The tune is "without words. " Is hope a matter of words, or is it a feeling about the future, a feeling which consists both of desire and expectation? Psychologically, is it true that hope never fails us, that hope is always possible? Stanza two Why is hope "sweetest" during a storm?When do we most need hope, when things are going well or when they are going badly? Sore is being used in the sense of very great or severe; abash means to make ashamed, embarrassed, or self-conscious.

Order custom essay Hope Is the Thing with Feathers Meaning with free plagiarism report

GET ORIGINAL PAPER

Essentially only the most extreme or impossible-to-escape storm would affect the bird/hope. If the bird is "abashed" what would happen to the individual's hope? In a storm, would being "kept warm" be a plus or a minus, an advantage or a disadvantage? Stanza three What kind of place would "chillest" land be? Would you want to vacation there, for instance? Yet in this coldest land, hope kept the individual warm.Is keeping the speaker warm a desirable or an undesirable act in these circumstances? Is "the strangest sea" a desirable or undesirable place to be? Would you need hope there? The bird, faithful and unabashed, follows and sings to the speaker ("I've heard it") under the worst, the most threatening of circumstances. The last two lines are introduced by "Yet. " What kind of connection does "yet" establish with the preceding ideas/stanzas? Does it lead you to expect similarity, contrast, an example, an irrelevancy, a joke? Even in the most critical circumstances the bird never asked for even a "crumb" in return for its support.What are the associations with "crumb"? would you be satisfied if your employer offered you "a crumb" in payment for your work? Also, is "a crumb" appropriate for a bird? Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the Thing With Feathers,” is the VI part of a much larger poem called “Life. ” The poem examines the abstract idea of hope in the free spirit of a bird.

Dickinson uses imagery, metaphor, to help describe why “Hope is the Thing With Feathers. ” In the first stanza, “Hope is the Thing With Feathers,” Dickinson uses the metaphorical image of a bird to describe the abstract idea of hope.Hope, of course, is not an animate thing, it is inanimate, but by giving hope feathers, she begins to create an image hope in our minds. The imagery of feathers conjures up hope in itself. Feathers represent hope because feathers enable you to fly and offer the image of flying away to a new hope, a new beginning. In contrast, broken feathers or a broken wing grounds a person, and conjures up the image of needy person who has been beaten down by life. Their wings have been broken and they no longer have the power to hope.

In the second stanza, “That perches in the soul,” Dickinson continues to use the imagery of a bird to describe hope.Hope, she is implying, perches or roosts in our soul. The soul is the home for hope. It can also be seen as a metaphor. Hope rests in our soul the way a bird rests on its perch. In the third and fourth stanzas, Ads by Google| Famous Haiku Poems  Haiku Poetry  Flying Birds  Examples of Poems| | And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all. Dickinson uses the imagery of a bird’s continuous song to represent eternal hope.

Birds never stop singing their song of hope. The fifth stanza “And sweetest in the gale is heard” describes the bird’s song of hope as sweetest in the wind.It conjures up images of a bird’s song of hope whistling above the sound of gale force winds and offering the promise that soon the storm will end. Dickinson uses the next three lines to metaphorically describe what a person who destroys hope feels like. And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm. A person who destroys hope with a storm of anger and negativity feels the pain they cause in others. Dickinson uses a powerful image of a person abashing the bird of hope that gives comfort and warmth for so many.

The destroyer of hope causes pain and soreness that hurts them the most. In the first line of the last set of stanzas “I’ve heard it in the chillest lands,” Dickinson offers the reader another reason to have hope. It is heard even in the coldest, saddest lands. Hope is eternal and everywhere. The birds song of hope is even heard “And on the strangest sea. ” Hope exists for everyone. In the last two lines, Dickinson informs us that the bird of hope asks for no favor or price in return for its sweet song.

Yet never in extremity, It asked a crumb of me. Hope is a free gift.It exists for all of us. All we must do is not clip the wings of hope and let it fly and sing freely. Its song can be heard over the strangest seas, coldest lands, and in the worst storms. It is a song that never ends as long as we do not let it. This is the only poem of hers that does not stress the mental anguish of the poet.

The only one. You can disagree. Great use of metaphors much like the feathers on a bird hope insulates us from some of the harsher realities of life! suggests hope is universal when talks about birds song without words hope is common to all people and all times... Louise Posted on 2009-09-28 | by a guest .: ah interesting :.

I interperted the poem more as a reference. The hope can stand through much more hardship than the people themselves, but hope doesn't react as the way a bird would. A bird would sink into a slump, or fly from the complication, whereas hope would continue to be precious, reasuring the being and coaching its continuation. | Posted on 2008-03-10 | by a guest .: ah interesting :. I interperted the poem more as a reference. The hope can stand through much more hardship than the people themselves, but hope doesn't react as the way a bird would.

A bird would sink into a slump, or fly from the complication, whereas hope would continue to be precious, reasuring the being and coaching its continuation. | Posted on 2008-03-10 | by a guest .: :. Dickinson defines hope with a metaphor, comparing it to a bird. Dickinson introduces her metaphor in the first two lines, “Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul. ” Throughout the entire poem, this metaphor develops through Dickinson’s comparison of characteristics between hope and a bird, whatever is being said of the bird applies to hope, and the application to hope is Dickinson's point in this poem.It is obvious that a bird “sings the tune,” but Emily’s version of a bird, “sings a tune—without the words, and never stops at all.

” In the soul where this bird has perched on, sings wordlessly and without pause. Like the bird, hope comes from one’s soul, and “never stops at all,” meaning that an individual does not stop hoping. Like the tune without words, hope also is not a matter of words. It is a feeling about the future both of desire and expectation. The development of this metaphor continues as Dickinson describes how the bird reacts to hardships. A storm must be impossibly brutal to “abash the little bird. The bird continues to survive as it can be found everywhere.

The “chillest land” to the “strangest sea,” symbolizes hope’s presence under the worst and most threatening circumstances. Hope reacts in the same way. For hope to be “abashed,” “sore must be the storm,” or fatal must be the hardship. “That kept so many warm” is an appropriate characteristic of hope and a bird. Similar to a bird’s constant and comforting melodies, hope’s constant reassurance “has kept so many warm” in times of hardships. | Posted on 2007-02-28 | by a guest .: :.

Dickinson defines hope with a metaphor, comparing it to a bird.Dickinson introduces her metaphor in the first two lines, “Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul. ” Throughout the entire poem, this metaphor develops through Dickinson’s comparison of characteristics between hope and a bird, whatever is being said of the bird applies to hope, and the application to hope is Dickinson's point in this poem. It is obvious that a bird “sings the tune,” but Emily’s version of a bird, “sings a tune—without the words, and never stops at all. ” In the soul where this bird has perched on, sings wordlessly and without pause.Like the bird, hope comes from one’s soul, and “never stops at all,” meaning that an individual does not stop hoping. Like the tune without words, hope also is not a matter of words.

It is a feeling about the future both of desire and expectation. The development of this metaphor continues as Dickinson describes how the bird reacts to hardships. A storm must be impossibly brutal to “abash the little bird. ” The bird continues to survive as it can be found everywhere. The “chillest land” to the “strangest sea,” symbolizes hope’s presence under the worst and most threatening circumstances.Hope reacts in the same way. For hope to be “abashed,” “sore must be the storm,” or fatal must be the hardship.

“That kept so many warm” is an appropriate characteristic of hope and a bird. Similar to a bird’s constant and comforting melodies, hope’s constant reassurance “has kept so many warm” in times of hardships. | Posted on 2007-02-28 | by a guest Post your Analysis Message This may only be an analysis of the writing. No requests for explanation or general short comments allowed. Due to Spam Posts are moderated before posted.

Barack Obama: The Audacity of Hope

The words “The Audacity of Hope” comes from Obama’s 2004 Democratic Convention keynote address. Much of the book deal with Obama’s policy positions on a number of issues, from health care to the occupation of Iraq. In this book, Obama criticizes the existing policy positions of the Bush government, and tries to reconcile political differences based on the twin principles of respect and statesmanship. There are several issues that Obama discussed in the book. The first issue is about racial discrimination. Obama rejects the notion that the United States is divided into politically racial spheres.

Obama argues that the so-called ‘racial divide’ is a social construction – hence, cannot be immersed in policy-making. The personal attributes of people, according to Obama, should not become a hindrance to their own development. The second issue is rather unusual for the common reader. Obama rejects the ‘either – or formulations’ as a matter of policy. Here, he is referring to George W. Bush absolutists’ foreign policy that does not take into consideration alternatives. Obama provides a general background of such policy in the 60’s.

According to Obama, the admission of African-Americans, minorities, and women to full citizenship had greatly undermined the power of the racial majority. What had developed was a system of grudge that, even today, manifests itself in government, business, education, and defense. The unity of the American nation had been greatly undermined. Obama argues that the only means to restore that unity is towards reconciling political differences. Although this is difficult to achieve, the price of success far outweighs the short-run costs.

Obama’s idea of national unity transcends race, creed, and political differences. His idea of unity resembles that of Martin Luther King. Much of Obama’s thoughts on foreign, military, and domestic policies are a general triangulation of liberal and conservative ideas – probably a way to appease both liberals and conservatives in society as Tony Blair did. In any case, his ideas about national security are much more enlightened than that of Bush. Obama’s argues that war in Iraq was a misguided war on the basis that it increased the associated risks to the United States.

It did not put an end to terrorism, rather magnified it threefold. Tolerance, according to Obama must be observed in domestic and foreign policies. This is the only way to achieve an everlasting peace. The thesis of the book is: Unity of the American nation transcends race, creed, and politics, and the way to achieve peace is tolerance. For an intelligent reader, this thesis is something more of a vague statement. It does not attempt to give specific solutions to specific problems. There is no evaluation of alternatives.

It is even possible to argue that Obama’s thesis is a coagulation of his political motives – a desire for higher political office. In any case, unlike his predecessors, Obama’s attempts to give a general view of American policies are generally unbiased and to some extent open-ended. Much of his enthusiasm of a possible end of conflict in Iraq is generally based on the hopes of a policy-shift – whether a Republican or Democrat is elected to the White House. Here, one can see that Obama’s audacity in intellectual leadership in his party exceeded that of George W. Bush.

One can therefore argue that even if Obama’s thesis is a motherhood statement, it is in fact a radical alternative of the conservative-either-or policies of the Bush administration. Here, one sees the views of both a rising politician and a ‘dreamer of the 1960s. ’ Again, the specification of Obama’s thesis is still problematic, even though it carries a very meaningful radical policy-shift. In any case, there is no end to the question, “Is unity a long-run possibility? ” Reference Obama, Barack. 2006. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. New York: Crown.

False Hope

Leanne Whittemore Lecturer: John McDonough ENGL 299-014 02/21/2013 Essay #1 False Hope The characters in The Glass Menagerie all hope for a better future which is filled with success and happiness. This hope flickers throughout the play and is finally put out all together in the closing actions of the play. In The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, this sense of hope is symbolized by light. It is shown in the very descriptive stage directions, the specific objects pertaining to light like candles and lamps, and by the colorful images of rainbows throughout the play.

While providing the characters with actions the very descriptive stage directions also provide a sense of emotions for them to act out. In scene six while Laura and Amanda are waiting excitingly for Jim to come over, William’s describes Laura as being “piece of translucent glass touched by light, given a momentary radiance, not actual, not lasting" (1748). William’s uses this idea of light to describe Laura’s emotions and feelings during this scene. By stating Laura was “given a momentary radiance” Williams’ illustrates Laura’s hope of finding someone to love.

In scene seven, when Laura and Jim are talking, Williams uses descriptive stage directions to describe Laura’s feeling of hope in regard to light. This happens right around the time that Jim attempts to being engaged. The directions say that Jim smiles at Laura "with a warmth and charm which lights her inwardly" (1762). Then, when she finds out that Jim is engaged, the stage directions describe how the "holy candles on the altar of Laura's face have been snuffled out" (1768). Both descriptions show hope in Laura, while one is her hope that Jim is single, and the other being her hope being destroyed when she finds out that he is not.

From the beginning, the directions, as well as the dialogue, directly tell the readers that the play is dimly lighted (1723). Then in the beginning of the final scene, all the lights go out (because Tom has not paid the electric bill), and the only lighting left on stage is candlelight. Through the use of light in the play, it is clear that the play does not leave the characters looking towards the bright hope of their future, but realizing their dim reality. For Amanda, her new floor lamp represents her hope for the future.

In the fifth scene, when Tom says that Jim is coming over, Amanda states that she has been paying for a brand new floor lamp that she will have sent out for the occasion (1744). By the sixth scene, before Jim arrives, the new lamp, "with its rose silk shade" is put in the living room (1747), symbolizing her hope for Jim to come back. This hope turns out to be pointless, which Amanda recognizes by stating that "all the expense" has basically been for nothing, and the first one she lists is "the new floor lamp" (1771).

The new lamp is a symbol of hope to Amanda, and its presence in her living room when Jim arrives makes her feel that there is hope for Laura and Jim. Like all other hope in the play, it was a useless, waste of time and energy At the end of the play when Tom is finishing his dialogue , the symbol of hope turns to Laura's candles. Tom speaks as if to Laura, "I reach for a cigarette, I cross the street, I run into the movies or a bar, I buy a drink, I speak to the nearest stranger- anything that can blow your candles out! " (1772).

Tom interprets these candles as Laura's hope, which he can’t seem to get out of his brain. He doesn’t want the family to suffer dealing with false hope any longer. He sees the world as a dark and stormy place, by saying "For nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura- and so goodbye…" (1772). Then Laura actually blows out the candles, extinguishing the final light and making the stage become dark and lonely. This symbolizes not only a goodbye to Tom, but also saying goodbye to the hope of love and a brighter future for the Wingfield family.

In an essay titled "Williams' The Glass Menagerie," Bert Cardullo comments that, when Laura blows the candles out, "The implication is that no gentleman caller will ever enter her life again" (11), which, truly means that hope will never again enter Amanda and Laura’s lonely lives. The symbol of the rainbow in The Glass Menagerie shows the illusion of hope or false hope. Right when the characters almost reach what they hoped for it always seems to disappear. Laura’s fragile glass animals are used to show this sense of false hope.

In the seventh scene, when Laura is talking to Jim, she shows Jim the glass unicorn and says, "Hold him over the light, he loves the light! You see how the light shines through him? " (1764). . As Jim holds the unicorn and comments "It sure does shine," one can imagine the rainbow ray that the unicorn creates. This unicorn comes to symbolize the love that Laura has been waiting all her life for. This love "comes to her, however fleetingly, in the person of Jim" (Cardullo 3). However, like the rainbow light of the glass unicorn, this hope of love is just an illusion.

Tom mentions rainbows again in his final words as he describes how he abandons Amanda and Laura, he says, "I pass the lighted window of a shop where perfume is sold. The window is filled with pieces of colored glass, tiny transparent bottles in delicate colors, like bits of a shattered rainbow. " The image of a shattered rainbow fits perfectly with Tom’s closing words due to the fact that Tom’s abandonment from the family seems to shatter any type of hope the Wingfield family had.

Williams’ last directions to make the stage completely dark seem like a symbol of the future of the Wingfield family; dark and lonely. As far as Amanda sees it, without a man to take care of her and Laura they left with nothing but loneliness. Laura will never be able to work; Tom left his family behind, and it seems that no "suitor" will ever enter the women's lives again. Cardullo notes that, "The character of Tom is based in part on Tennessee Williams himself, and Laura is modeled after Williams' beloved sister, Rose" (12).

Since the play is autobiographical, it has the feeling that Williams is attempting to show us the readers something that happened in his past, implying that hope never did come to this family. When the lights go out at the end of the play, it is dark for good. Works Cited Cardullo, Bert. "Williams's The Glass Menagerie. " The Explicator. 22 March 1997. . paragraphs 1-12. Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. Ed. Robert DiYanni. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2007. 1718-1773.

Hope Is the Thing with Feathers Meaning essay

This essay was written by a fellow student. You can use it as an example when writing your own essay or use it as a source, but you need cite it.

Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses

Starting from 3 hours delivery 450+ experts on 30 subjects
get essay help 124  experts online

Did you know that we have over 70,000 essays on 3,000 topics in our database?

Cite this page

Explore how the human body functions as one unit in harmony in order to life

Hope Is the Thing with Feathers Meaning. (2018, Nov 03). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/hope-is-the-thing-with-feathers-meaning/

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Run a free check or have your essay done for you

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer