There Is No Frigate Like a Book

Category: Books, Poetry, Sonnet
Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
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In the poem “There is no Frigate like a Book”, Emily Dickinson uses words with particular connotations to give her poem a more rich and meaningful aspect. Her belief that literature is powerful enough to allow one’s mind to distance itself from reality and its immediate surroundings is enforced in the poem throughout her use of words like “frigate” “traverse” which connate a sense of journey or adventure.

Dickinson compares books to means of transportation to emphasize this idea of the power of imagination. “There is no Frigate like a Book; To take us Lands away” Here the word “frigate” though its literal meaning is a warship, is used to connote a sense of adventure and exploration while “land” gives off an intriguing idea of exotic and unknown. By selecting these words and comparing them to books Dickinson expresses how powerful literature is over one’s mind for it to can take us to distant places.

The poem follows by expressing the spirituality and joyfulness that can be found in literature “Nor any Coursers like a Page; Of prancing poetry” Dickinson substitutes “coursers” for horses in this passage to conveys a stronger emphasize of majestic, beautiful and elegant also describing poetry as “prancing” thus giving it a sense of spiritual, harmony and energetic. The connotations implied by these words and their comparison to poetry in this line help imply the beauty that Dickinson beliefs to find in literature

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In the following line Dickinson reminds us how books are able to touch anyone no matter from what stratus they come from. “This Traverse may the oppress may the poorest take; Without oppress of Toll” Here “traverse” which literal term means to travel through is used to express a sense of danger and mystery, while “oppress” connotes a sense of a powerlessness, something that holds us back or keeps us down and “toll” suggest a meaning of a limit or burden that one must suffer through.

The words in this passage work together to give the idea off the idea of the troubles that goes with traveling by comparing it to books, Dickinson is able to show how literature can do take us away without any of these burdens. In the last lines Dickinson again reinstates her idea how powerful books are, in that they can take us away. “How Frugal is the Chariot; That bears the Human soul. ” By comparing books to a chariot she gives books a more magical, romanticizes tone for “chariot” connotes a sense of fantasy and fairytale, Dickinson uses “frugal” to describe the how economical book are while implying a aspect of moral goodness to them.

Her use of “bear” in this passage also suggests the importance of the human soul for bearing something connotes an idea of carrying something with great significance or meaning this works with the final word “soul” for soul connotes an idea of beauty and one’s whole self by using soul instead of mind Dickinson emphasizes how literature is able to take its readers and transport them not just mentally but also emotionally and spiritually into a completely different world.

Dickinson uses connotation powerfully in her poem to give it a more elegant and magical feel to it, by carefully selecting her words Dickinson’s focuses more on their connotations than their denotations to give the poem the sense of power and adventure she wants to express about literature.

Related Questions

on There Is No Frigate Like a Book

What is the meaning of There is no Frigate like a Book?
This phrase is a metaphor that suggests books can be a form of escape, just like a frigate (a type of sailing ship) can take you away from your troubles. It implies that books can provide a mental journey and a sense of freedom, just like a physical journey on a ship.
Who said There is no Frigate like a Book?
The phrase "There is no Frigate like a Book" is attributed to the 19th century poet Emily Dickinson. It is a metaphor for the power of books to transport readers to faraway places and times.
What is the meaning of a book by Emily Dickinson?
The meaning of a book by Emily Dickinson is highly subjective and can vary depending on the reader. Generally, her works are known for exploring themes of mortality, nature, and love, often in a poetic and abstract way.
Why does Dickinson use frigate instead of ship?
Dickinson likely uses the word "frigate" instead of "ship" to create a more vivid and powerful image. Frigates are typically larger and more powerful than ships, and the use of this word emphasizes the strength and power of the speaker's soul.

Cite this Page

There Is No Frigate Like a Book. (2016, Nov 05). Retrieved from

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