, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

While reviewing for my midterm, I decided to post this poem by Emily Dickinson. It is my favorite out of all the other ones we discussed in class and I personally think that every girl and woman ought to read it. I’m also adding my notes so that you’ll get an idea why I believe so.


She rose to His Requirement–dropt

The Playthings of Her Life

To take the honorable Work

Of Woman, and of Wife–


If ought She missed in Her new Day,

Of Amplitude, or Awe–

Of first Prospective–Or the Gold

In using, wear away,


It lay unmentioned–as the Sea

Develop Pearl, and Weed,

But only to Himself–be known

The Fathoms they abide


(c. 1863)


My notes 


(capitalize words for emphasis)

“His Requirement” >> divine, God

writing poetry was her calling; it was her everything

PLAYTHINGS = her writing was considerable “playing” at the time, low value of a woman’s work — threat >> give up her passion

* can also mean that she stopped being a girl and stopped “playing with toys” (became an adult)

Honorable? give up her hopes and dreams; give up her name (her rights)

>> “She missed in Her new Day” (destroyed expectations)

>> “it lay unmentioned” (she never talked about her writing)

>> [last three lines indicate] only the husband knew what she sacrificed for him, for his happiness (now her role is wife–mother–hostess)

(“Pearl”–passion, dreams, possibilities?)

“Sea” – the husband (buries her thoughts, ideas and dreams (dreams=fathoms) with water; covers it with pretty things (pearls, weed)

fathoms – eternal suffering due to lost hope; dreams bow down to husband (male dominant)

[the religious heritage Dickinson learned during her childhood; in the poem she enforces faith in herself]




Dickinson never got married due to the fear expressed in this poem. I am not telling anyone to do the same since today’s circumstances obviously are different. All I’m saying is that I find Dickinson inspiring for standing her ground throughout her life, dedicating her time to art for the sake of independence and love for writing.