Emily Dickinson's 'A Certain Slant of Light' Analysis Essay

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Emily Dickinson’s “There’s a certain Slant of light”

In her poem, There’s a certain Slant of light, Emily Dickinson uses metaphors and imagery to convey the feeling of solemnity and despair at winter’s twilight. The slanted light that she sees, is a metaphor for her battle with depression. Anyone who is familiar with Dickinson’s background will have a better understanding of what she is trying to say in this poem. Dickinson was known as a recluse and spent most of her life isolated from the outside world. The few people that she did come in contact with over the years are said to have had a major impact on her poetry. Although, her main muse of her work seems to be despair and internal conflict.
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If we’re feeling down, like the speaker of this poem, we see the world as how we feel inside; things look unpleasant, and grey and dismal. We’re unable to see a ray of hope that is coming through the window in the form of sunshine. In the fourth stanza, when death, or “it” as the speaker calls it, comes everything listens. When someone dies, those still on this earth sometimes experience stillness in nature, as if the world is on hold and listening to us. In Dickinson’s poem the stillness comes from the slant of light, and the landscape and shadows listen and figuratively hold their breath. The landscape and shadows are personified in this stanza. The capitalization of “Landscape” and “Shadows” gives the impression that the speaker is referring to someone she knows. The mood here changes quite a bit compared to the first three stanzas of this poem. You get a sense of anticipation instead of despair, and the oppression that the speaker has felt has lifted and now she’s feeling light and maybe some what alluring. In the final two lines of the poem, the poet uses sort of a morbid imagery. “When it goes, ‘tis like the Distance, On the look of Death.” (15-16) Dead people have a distant look to them since the life in their being is gone somewhere else. We also see the exit of winter light at the end of the day in the same distant way we might see some deaths. Death is
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