An Analysis of Poems 585 and 754 Essay

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An Analysis of Poems 585 and 754

 

Emily Dickinson’s use of poetic diction in poems 585 and 754 brings to life two inanimate objects, a train and a gun, both of which perform actions that are useful to man. Though these items cannot act on their own, Dickinson’s diction provides them with their own movements, characteristics, and feelings. In poem 585, a train’s daily journey is given a meaning beyond that of a cold, iron machine when Dickinson describes its animal qualities to show its strength, stubbornness, and perseverance. In poem 754, a gun is portrayed as a protective, devoted servant. In both of these poems, Emily Dickinson uses diction to give a train and a gun characteristics of animals to explain their behavior and
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11-12) shows how the train points out that this is not easy. It is as if he is saying "I am doing what you ask of me, but you are demanding a lot of me. I want to please you, but sometimes I have to let you know just how much you are asking of me." With the last stanza, Dickinson seems to be implying that the creature is an iron horse when the train neighs "like Boanerges—" (l. 14). During Emily Dickinson’s time, this statement could have been comparing industrial advancement to man’s more familiar way of transportation for many years. Just like a horse, the train is easily controlled despite being all-powerful as Dickinson points out by calling the train "docile and omnipotent" in line sixteen. With the use of docile, Dickinson reminds the reader that though it may appear to be alive, it still cannot move without the control of man. For many years man used loyal and strong horses to travel. Like an obedient horse, this iron horse will get to its destination on time, do what it is told, and accomplish great feats for its master.

In the next poem, 754, Emily Dickinson gives living charactertics to a rifle with certain words that allow the reader to experience the cold, devoted side of man’s best friend. Dickinson explains first that this is the life of "a Loaded Gun" (l. 1) and that it waits "In Corners—till a Day/The Owner passed—identified--/And
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