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The Heart asks Pleasure-first Analysis

Author: Poetry of Emily Dickinson Type: Poetry Views: 271

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The Heart asks Pleasure-first-

And then-Excuse from Pain-

And then-those little Anodyness

That deaden suffering-And then-to go to sleep-

And then-if it should be

The will of its Inquisitor

The privilege to die-


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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First, \"privelege\" in the last line should read \"liberty.\"
Second, I don\'t think this poem has anything to do with love, as mentioned in the previous post. I think it has to do with the progression of internal pain, or depression, if you will. It\'s like the heart starts out positive, and then when it doesn\'t receive one thing, it pleads for the next best thing, and the next, and so forth.
Pleasure... no pain... numbness from pain... escape from pain (sleep)... liberty to die
\"Inquisitor\" connotes some viewpoint of God being cruel in letting this deteriorating state occur.
\"Liberty\" is like saying, if you can\'t give me any of the above, at least give me the freedom to die.
Just my two cents.

| Posted on 2011-12-23 | by a guest

.: :.

There isn’t much to explain in this poem, but a lot to wonder about. It clearly is talking about the progression of love – we fall in love (“pleasure first”), we cease to be loved by the beloved (“excuse from pain”), then we never want to be hurt as badly (use of “anodynes”), and then, of course, we just never want to be hurt (“sleep”).
Which brings us now to the tricky lines: Who is this Inquisitor, and why would the heart dying be “liberty?”
First of all, what is the difference between a heart that is dead and a heart that is asleep? I guess it might be that a heart that is asleep can be awoken, that it, while passive, can resume activity under the right conditions. To be able to change state seems more a liberty than “death,” no?
Secondly, what of this Inquisitor? Who demands of the heart? At first we may think it’s the beloved, but we know better as long as we’re not in denial: We’re the ones who want love, who demand to love and be loved. We’re the ones who hold our heart to a heavenly ideal, who demand that perfection come about through love in some way.
When one sees that oneself has been the torturer of one’s own heart, it makes perfect sense why one’s heart dying should be a “liberty.” This list about the progression of love is a list we have to be cynical about: our true happiness cannot be grounded in any of the experiences mentioned.
And maybe what is being described isn’t true love on our part.

| Posted on 2010-03-12 | by a guest

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