Subtleties of the Perfect Word

June 3, 2019 by Essay Writer

With a few straight lines, perhaps a dot, and an occasional squiggle, Word is born. Despite its humble beginnings, Word holds the possibility of greatness: the ability to cause war, to make peace, to express love, to describe fear. While many others are easily accessible, wrangling Perfect Word requires patience, scrupulousness, and wit. In spite of having properly hogtied it, the actual “perfection” of Word relies on its relationship with Other Words. Emily Dickinson possesses an uncanny ability to wrestle down the perfect diction, thus creating worlds of hope, despair, faith, and endless questioning. Through her use of the word Goblin, its role, its impact on the understanding of the poem, and its relationship to other imagery, Dickinson displays her linguistic prowess and the intricacies of language. Each of the six poems (356, 360, 388, 425 619, and 757) that include goblin imagery does so in an entirely distinct manner; nevertheless, as the goblin’s part of speech is more substantial, so too does its degree of evil and its role in the poem intensify. Via subtle manipulations of language, Dickinson deepends her poetry and opens it to many layers of interpretation and connectedness. #757 I think to Live – may be a Bliss To better understand Dickinson’s use of the word goblin poem in #757, its context must first be evaluated. Because of a desire for “bliss” and the “widen[ing]” of one’s heart, the tone of this poem reflects a wishful air-a dream of achieving a more perfect existence than the life she lives and knows (lines 1, 6). This poem articulates the speaker’s desire to reach paradise wherein all fear of corruption of beauty, “apprehension” for her destiny, or moral and spiritual “bankruptcy” is dispelled by a vision of a “steadfast South” for the soul (13-16, 19). So vivid and longed for is this dream that she favors this “fictitious” world to her reality (21, 23). Furthermore, not only does she long for the arrival of paradise, but she also wishes to disregard this life as a “mistake” corrected by God, implying that her life truly begins upon entering heaven (27-28). Paradise, with its splendor and bounty, serves as a striking contrast to earthly corruption and uncertainty in faith. Having established its context, goblin appears in a catalog of negativity and corruption on earth that is missing in heaven. While used as a noun, the negation of that noun renders this example of the word the least potent of the six examples. Because goblin does not exist in heaven, it has little effect on the meaning of the poem (aside from contrasting the perfection of heaven with the corruption of earth). Due to the part of speech ascribed to goblin, neither the word nor its implications apply/affect the interpretation in a negative sense. Therefore, the tone of this poem remains wishful because the speaker merely acknowledges the fact that negatives exist in reality but refuses to let them impact her dream state. The role of the goblin here is that it acts as a corrupter of flower blooms-a destroyer of passive beauty. Associated with a mere insect in nature, the “goblin” represents a pest or annoyance typically ignored and deemed a fact of life. In light of this interpretation, Dickinson’s subtle use of a word with evil connotations reveals her grasp and control over language and ability to bend it to her needs.#356 If you were coming in the FallThe initial tone of this poem appears longing and wishful due to the speaker’s willingness to “brush the Summer by” to get to fall, stow the wound-up balls of month in separate drawers to get past the year, casually count down the “centuries…on [her] hand” if her lover (or God) be only a century away, or carelessly toss aside her lifetime if in the afterlife they would be united (2, 6-7, 10, 14). Time acts as the faceless enemy who stands between her and her lover. Although this poem speaks of love and a longing to be reunited with a lover, there remains an element of pain. Because she does not know how long they will be kept apart by an exterior force, she suffers emotionally-as if her heart awaits a sense of comfort afforded by a defined time frame of separation. The uncertainty is torturous, but only torturous because she must wait for love. Even the most negative aspect of this poem remains positive.Within this context, goblin acts as an adjective, modifying bee. In this respect, the goblin exists but only in the form of another being, thereby existing in the transferal of goblin-like qualities. Because this sense of evil exists in a diluted form (as the bee possesses other qualities in addition to its goblin-status), it has a subtle impact on the tone of the poem, adding impatience to longing and wishful. By proclaiming that the uncertainty of the length of time that they will be apart “goads [her], like the Goblin Bee-/that will not state-it’s sting,” the speaker ascribes goblinhood as a state of mischievousness and taunt (18-20). This goblin bee momentarily withholds its sting because the unknown is far worse than the known. Because the speaker is uncertain of both the sting and the reunion, she remains anxious. The use of goblin as a natural image also seems to imply that this is an unfortunate, but expected, life event. This taunting yields the change in tone: not only is she eager to be reunited with her lover but she also appears annoyed by time. Dickinson’s delicate use of “goblin” as an adjective enables the word to act as an element of evil without corrupting the entire amorous sentiment behind the poem.#619 Did you ever stand in a Cavern’s Mouth- The tone of this poem, unlike the previous two, is dark, foreboding, and haunting, as revealed by the images of the darkness within a cavern, horror, loneliness, and death (1, 5, 8, 12). Fear permeates this poem-fear of no afterlife, of death, of loneliness, of the unknown, of desperation, of living after such experiences. The speaker describes these fears first through the metaphor of the cavern. Standing within the cave, “widths out of the Sun” and enshrouded in darkness, the speaker evokes a sense of paranoia coupled with a shortness of breath and prickled hairs on the back of the neck (2, 3). Panic prevails, not for fear of a presence in the darkness but rather for fear of overwhelming loneliness. This sense of desperation continues with the metaphor of the cannon. Driven to that point out of hopelessness and disparity, the barrel of the gun (or cannon) offers lost souls a means of alleviating the pain. The ignited “yellow eye” from within the cannon’s barrel serves as a paradox to the light leading the deceased unto heaven: while the heavenly light represents redemption and guidance, the lighted fuse of the cannon lures its viewer to a false sense of reprieve (an anti-salvation) (10). Right before committing suicide, the question of death enters the mind of the person. That fear of the unknown causes the individual to reconsider life, saving him or her not by a faith in heaven but by the uncertainty of it. Without knowing whether the Christian god will save, if the pagan underworld (symbolized by the Satyr’s song) prevails, or nothingness reigns, death proves a greater risk than life. Within the terms of this poem, Dickinson uses goblin as an adjective, modifying the word it, which in turn represents the circumstances within Cavern’s Mouth. Within this context, goblin acts as a sort of exclamation, emphasizing that the cave is frightening, haunting, and horrible. The situation within the cave inspires fear and uncertainty, much like the mystical character of a goblin. However, because goblin merely describes the greater entity of a cave, the word’s impact loses some of its potency and demonic aspects. Because of its minimalized role, its impact on the poem’s overall tone and meaning is to underscore pre-established sentiments and to introduce a somewhat otherworldly element. Typically deemed a lesser demon or mythical creature, the goblin represents the question of faith through a glimpse of the powers of evil. By describing the cavern as possessing goblin-like qualities, it therefore takes on the air of a place of evil, temptation, and paganism. Likewise, a feeling of isolation and helplessness often relates to a questioning of faith in God. By simply using goblin in relation to the cavern, Dickinson emphasizes the temptation and religious turmoil experienced in people’s darkest moments.#388 It would never be Common- more- I said The tone of this poem resonates of a longing for times past because now, “difference had begun” (2). Because it speaks of a crippling loss and transformation from bliss to jadedness, the poem applies to several interpretations: to the loss of riches, loss of innocence, loss of love, loss of faith, or loss of the ability to find happiness. Unsettling change has taken place, which was once met with bitterness but is now viewed more with longing or reminiscence. Once upon a time, the speaker lived a life of blushing joy, once reflected in her rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes (9-12). Rather than be grounded to earth, she “walked- as wings,” soaring above earthly troubles (13). Her joy could not be held within, but rather demanded to be shared with “every creature- that [she] met-/ and Dowered-all the World” (19- 20). Unexpectedly, however, the source of her happiness is stripped from her, and she becomes “beggared” (24). Temporarily blinded and disoriented by the suddenness of this loss, she “clutch[es] at sounds” and “grope[s] at shapes,” feebly searching for signs of familiarity and her former life (25, 26). Her beautiful and exotic textiles have been replaced with simple, coarse “sackcloth” (30). The beauty she saw in life before her cataclysmic loss of innocence, lover, or faith has been replaced with an element of the banal and coarse. Reality has grounded her. Within this poem, goblin acts as a noun that represent one of many goblins or beings. Unlike the previous poems, because goblin represents an actual entity, it possesses all aspects of goblinhood rather than mere goblin-like qualities. As an actual being, it exhibits traits attributed to a goblin in its purest form: a malicious being, troublemaker, and manipulator. The use of “goblin” greatly affects the tone of the poem, as it aids in stimulating the turning point and cause for longing. In this poem, the goblin belongs to list of deeds that transform the speaker’s life from naïve and gay to jaded and depressed. By drinking her “dew,” it steals her freshness and God-given sustenance. However, because the goblin in this poem acts as one of many goblins in existence, indicated by the indefinite article “a,” this goblin’s power is not unique. Likewise, its impact on the speaker’s state is significant but not the only player in the downfall; the shrinking of riches, tenantlessness of palaces, and beggardom of the speaker accompany it (21-24). Through this portrayal of the goblin, the poet unveils a character strong enough to entirely alter the course of the poem, transforming the speaker’s life from bliss to meekness.#414 ‘Twas like a Maelstrom, with a notch, Illustrated by words like “boiling,” “agony,” “delirious,” “frozen,” and “anguish,” this poem has an overall tone of despair (3, 4, 19, 24). Divided into three sections, the first and second stanzas illustrate the message in terms of a maelstrom, the third and fourth stanzas retell that same account but in terms of a goblin with a gauge, and the fifth and sixth stanzas reinterpret the fourth stanza in terms of an execution. The overall subject matter of this poem discusses the anxiety over the deciding of fate regardless of whether it is in the form of courtly or heavenly judgment. Helpless to change the course of events, the individual must anxiously wait because the “hem” or “final inch” of her fabric of life lies in agony’s hand and her own (6, 7). Whereas in the first stanza the means of measuring time was represented by notches in a chaotic maelstrom, the third stanza employs the goblin as the cincher of the fleeting hours, transferring that role from an act of nature to an unworldly demon. The key words “as if” that open the fifth stanza establish the mirroring of the fourth stanza (18). In the fourth stanza, the hesitation of time depicted as the paralysis of “sinew” and “sense” translates into the frozen state of the individual as she is led to the gibbets, still captivated by the “luxury of doubt” (14, 15, 20). God, in the fourth stanza, saves the condemned from the powerful demonic hands of the “fiend” but in the sixth stanza, becomes a mere creature that gasps for “reprieve” to release the prisoner (16, 23). In rendering the position of savior from “something” that breaks loose in the second stanza to God in the fourth to a mere creature in the sixth, Dickinson articulates her uncertainty about faith’s role in reality (8, 16, 23). To go from an unknown to a spiritual and end with a physical image, the role of savior is not necessarily minimized; rather, it becomes some aspect of this world, tangible and comprehendible (thus depicting the poet’s vacillation between Calvinism and Transcendentalism). The final lines of each section introduce the question of how to react to reality in light of this experience with salvation-waking from a dream, being “let go, then, overcom[ing],” or questioning whether to perish or to live implies that although the individual has been saved from condemnation, her fate is uncertain (9, 17, 25). Through uncertainty while awaiting conviction, paralysis with fear, liberation, and return of uncertainty, the poem causes a sense of discomfort; through all of those trials and tribulations, the individual finds herself no better than when she started. Here, goblin behaves as a noun, first representing one of many goblins (A goblin) but then acting as one specific goblin (THE fiend) (10, 16). The transition from indefinite to definite article implies that the demon has adopted a more prominent role within the poem. As briefly mentioned above, the goblin takes over the role of the maelstrom in depicting the person’s lack of control over her fate. Beyond a mere transferal of roles, the goblin acts as a being consciously controlling someone’s life, whereas the maelstrom appears to be an unfortunate but inevitable event that unwittingly captures the person. Therefore, the goblin represents a demonic force, determined to destroy and torture for its own pleasure. Furthermore, to pair this goblin with God forces an interaction between pagan and Christian influences in addition to the battle between good and evil. Although the goblin initially maintains control over the helpless individual, its power holds no strength against the will of God, serving as a commentary on interplay between temptation and salvation. Once saved, however, God and goblin disappear but the fate of the individual remains uncertain, begging the question of the role of God beyond salvation. Until God “remembered” her, she was held victim to the temptations of evil the in the paws of the goblin-where was God before that (16)? Within this poem, the goblin plays a critical role because without it “measuring the hours,” tempting, and torturing the individual, God would have no role and the poem’s message would be lost (11). However, despite the goblin’s demonic demeanor, it still falls subservient to the will of God. This subtle though pivotal role of the goblin in this poem exhibits Dickinson’s thorough comprehension and adept manipulation of language.#360 The Soul has Bandaged moments- Highlighted by the soul’s moments of misery then reprieve but back to misery, the ultimate tone of this poem is one of despair and despondency. Divided into three portions, the first unveils a soul that suffers a grievous loss or traumatic event and, despite moments of relief, the pain overwhelms her. Restrained and bound by the memory of her loss, the soul (of the speaker) stands paralyzed at the sudden recollection of the trauma. The “ghastly fright” accosts and torments her by acting as an anti-lover. Performing deeds typically associated with a lover, the goblin corrupts these memories with a crippling sense of loss (5-10). The goblin seems to mock her pain by taking over that role. The happy memories pain the soul because they remind her that the lover is gone. The third and fourth stanzas represent the second section of the poem. Here, the soul escapes the bandaged moments and manages to celebrate the memory or the happiness in life. Reveling in the “touch [of] liberty” comparable to a bee reunited with its rose, the soul appreciates the time she and her lover had shared. This liberation is only temporary, however, because the bandages return in the form of “shackles” and the “staples, in the song” replace the “bursting all the doors” (21, 22, 12). Following suit with the goblin, “horror welcomes her,” thus perverting a typically pleasant deed with horror (23). The fact that the final two stanzas begin with “retaken moments” implies that distress is the natural state and liberation is the exception. Through the experience of a grievous loss, the soul forever remains crippled by the ordeal. Within the context of this poem, this goblin acts not only as a noun, but as a proper noun addressed by the poem. This transition from general noun to specific noun means that not only does it possess goblin-like qualities or act similar to many goblins but that this Goblin is the epitome of what it means to be a goblin. This being is the essence of evil, menacing, corruption, villainy, and manipulation. Replacing “Fright” within the context of the poem, Goblin adds a more demonic air to the torture of the soul. Not only does fright accost and paralyze her, but the goblin defiles her precious memories. It steals the breath and kiss from her lips that she reserved only for her lover’s touch. The memory of that touch and those kisses pains the her to the depths of her soul. By replacing an intangible and somewhat passive emotion with Goblin, Dickinson emphasizes the victimization of the soul. Goblin does more than merely “come up;” it takes on human characteristics by saluting, caressing, sipping and accosting her (3, 5, 6, 7, 10). The soul is not only haunted by her loss but is continually wounded by it. This example of goblin holds the most potency of all the preceding examples in that here it not only creates the tone of the poem, but its role and power over the soul ultimately prevail. Through this final use of the almighty goblin, Dickinson reveals her ability to mold the language to her will.Conclusion A careful analysis of only six poems in a 1,778-poem collection shows that Dickinson reveals her mastery of language through her subtle use of diction. Her use of the word goblin varies slightly from one poem to the next. Based on the part of speech she prescribes to goblin, Dickinson establishes its potency throughout the poem. From a negated noun to an adjective to an indefinite noun to a definite noun and finally to a proper noun, both the degree of evil and its role within the poem intensifies. This one word appears in poems about love, faith, loss and despair, but its precise meaning is yet to be defined. That, however, is the beauty of Perfect Word: its meaning may change with intent and interpretation, but for a poet of finesse, its perfection is never undermined.

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