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“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” is a well known poem by Emily Dickinson, with its title, as with all of her poems, coming from the first line. However, had Dickinson given her poem a title, she may have chosen something quite different and less cheerful for her title. Though, at first glance, this poem seems upbeat and happy with its catchy rhyme scheme and seemingly lighthearted extended metaphor, the theme of the piece is much darker and more cynical. Instead of speaking joyfully about this feeling of hope, the speaker observes it from an outside standpoint, implying that the speaker is devoid of the hope she describes. This poem is an extended metaphor, comparing hope to a “little Bird” (7). Starting this comparison in the first stanza, …show more content…
However, this description is followed by yet another set of harsh dashes, that separate the words “in the Gale” (5) from the rest of the line. By using these dashes, the speaker implies that hope’s song is only the sweetest thing to hear because a great storm is occuring, drowning out any happier sounds. To further stress the severity of the storm, the author uses assonance with the words, “sore must be the storm” (6). The following lines continue describing how terrible this storm must be in order to “abash the little Bird” (8). The use of the word abash in this line is interesting because according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, abash means to ruin someone’s self-confidence. Hope, as an abstract concept, does not have any feelings. However, by saying that this terrible storm destroys its self-confidence, the speaker implies that hope, or the “little Bird,” (7) becomes unsure of its own song. When hope is unsure of its own message, that can mean nothing good for the receivers of the message. Then, in the final line of the second stanza, the speaker notes how hope “kept so many warm,” (8) but does not include herself in the statement. This implies that hope never kept her warm. By making hope seem to doubt itself and by showing how hope has never helped her, the speaker makes hope seem hypocritical and …show more content…
Both of the aforementioned lines are ended with harsh dashes, giving them a tone of annoyance and signifying that the speaker was not happy that this tune followed her. Quickly sliding from annoyance to anger, the next line uses internal dashes to show how angry the speaker is at hope with the emphasis on the word never. However, the line ends with a comma instead of a dash, ending this thought on a softer, more reflective note, signifying the tone change that occurs in the final line. This line, instead of being angry, is sad and melancholy, which is much like hope’s song in the beginning stanza. Using softer sounding words, the speaker goes on to say how hope, that “little Bird” (7), has never even “asked a crumb” (12) of her. There is another dash after crumb where the speaker pauses as though she is going to deliver another harsh, angry end to her thought, but instead, she ends with two soft sounding words “of me,” (12) ending the line with a sad, reflective

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