Analysis of Dickinson's Loaded Gun Poem

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In the poem 764 of The Norton Anthology which starts "My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun -" (line 1), Emily Dickinson takes on the role of a married woman of the nineteenth century whose husband owns and completely controls her. The woman, whose voice Dickinson wrote from, reflects on the importance of her husband 's life to hers and her dependency on him being there to direct her life. Dickinson never married and lived a secluded life in her family 's home, only ever leaving the house for one year before returning again. Though she did not marry, the traditional roles of women still restricted her to live in the home of her family and under the ruler ship of her father like the rest of the women in the house. Some of her close friends and…show more content…
Dickinson shows in stanza five that the nineteenth century wife never questions her husband. Because this woman accepts the traditions of marriage and she depends so much on her "Master" to take care of her, she agrees completely with him. When she marries him, a "foe of His" (17) becomes an enemy of hers as well. She accepts his opinions of people, politics, religion, or anything else and adopts them as her own, always backing up her husband without question. If the hunter shoots the gun at an enemy, the gun does not question the hunter 's reasons for pulling the trigger. It shoots and kills. The man gives an order. The wife obeys it. If the husband has to relocate for a job, the family moves. If he suggests another way in handling the children, or a change that needs to occur in the wife 's behavior or the way she or others run the house, they change it to the way he wants it. The wife does not second guess her husband and whatever needs to be done she does so immediately. In the last stanza Dickinson restates how the married woman of the nineteenth century depends on her husband. Although the most confusing stanzas of the poem, it could be the woman telling us her husband must live longer than her. Dickinson writes that the gun, like most inanimate objects, lives longer than the hunter, like women often live longer than men, but the "Loaded Gun" is useless without the "Owner" there to operate it
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