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If you were coming in the Fall Analysis



Author: Poetry of Emily Dickinson Type: Poetry Views: 1958

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If you were coming in the Fall,

I'd brush the Summer by

With half a smile, and half a spurn,

As Housewives do, a Fly.If I could see you in a year,

I'd wind the months in balls-

And put them each in separate Drawers,

For fear the numbers fuse-If only Centuries, delayed,

I'd count them on my Hand,

Subtracting, till my fingers dropped

Into Van Dieman's Land.If certain, when this life was out-

That yours and mine, should be

I'd toss it yonder, like a Rind,

And take Eternity-But, now, uncertain of the length

Of this, that is between,

It goads me, like the Goblin Bee-

That will not state-its sting.






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

.: :.

I quite agree with the chicken nuggets verses cheeseburgers statement. but anyone with poetic sense can see that she was obviously comparing hotdogs to subway sandwiches. its one of the more emotional food references I've read.

| Posted on 2013-11-18 | by a guest


.: :.

I quite agree with the chicken nuggets verses cheeseburgers statement. but anyone with poetic sense can see that she was obviously comparing hotdogs to subway sandwiches. its one of the more emotional food references I've read.

| Posted on 2013-11-18 | by a guest


.: :.

Women in love are willing to forgo a lot just for the pleasure of company of their beloved. This pretty poem is a sweet reminder of that emotion felt by so many of my female friends, and me too once upon a time.
I have marked down this poem as one of my favorite romantic poems.

| Posted on 2012-03-21 | by a guest


.: :.

This means tthat she prefers chicken nuggets as opposed to cheeseburgers

| Posted on 2012-02-29 | by a guest


.: :.

she would count the days until the\'ll be together.if she could she would speed it up but she cant so she\'ll have to wait.

| Posted on 2011-08-05 | by a guest


.: :.

she cannot wait to see him and she would do whatever it takes to be with the one she loves. she would speed the seasons, years, days, months, seconds just so they can be together.

| Posted on 2010-04-12 | by a guest


.: The Goblin Bee that is Et :.

Love can be lost. Life will end. Both may find each other once again. These possibilities and certainties are fairly common knowledge; however, most people do not wish to examine this uncertain part of life. Emily Dickinson is not such a person. She examines the possibilities of life, loss, and finding a love again, even after death. This theme that lovers may be lost, but time may rejoin them, even after death, is evident in Dickinson’s poem, “If you were coming in the Fall.” The way she manipulates words to project her emotions is quite compelling. From beginning to end the words keep the reader intrigued and enticed to learn more. This way she continues to keep the theme evident and the poem powerful.
This power is evident from beginning to end. The title creates anticipation in the reader for what is to follow. The speaker does not address the reader or a known person, rather she only uses the word “you.” She directs her poem to a particular person, but the reader is never let in to know whom this person is that causes this longing. There is hope and sorrow in these few words, all towards this mystery person, possibly a lover or friend who is supposed to visit in the fall.
From the title the poem continues its mystery. In the first line, “If you were coming in the Fall” (1), the poem is introduced with the sense the speaker is writing to a lover or simply a love. “The Fall” can be seen as adulthood in a lifetime. Spring is then infancy, summer is youth, fall is adulthood, and winter is death. This view also helps to understand the capitalization and emphasis of fall.
The second line, “I’d brush the summer by” (2), can be interpreted as “I pass my youth away.” This ties in well with the next two lines, “With half a smile and half a spurn, / As Housewives do, a Fly” (3-4). Most young people spend half their time happy and half angry. Those in love are no exception, especially those separated from their loves. The image of the housewife swatting a fly adds to the intensity of the image. The housewife is probably at home, alone, forced to take care of things by herself. So when her love is away she is happy that she was able to care for herself but also angry that she must do so.
The second stanza continues to show the longing of the speaker to find her distant lover. However, she also wishes to count the days by “wind[ing] the months in balls” (6). This way she may keep them tightly packed while letting each day pass through her fingers. She wants to also remember each month, so she “put[s] them each in separate Drawers” (7). The capitalization of “drawers” could show that the other meaning of “drawers” may be the different parts of her life, just as the seasons were.
The third stanza is much like the second; however, time now is not month, but rather centuries. Time has extended for the meeting of the lost loves. This is the point where in the poem the reader begins to be introduced to the possibility that the lovers may not meet again in this lifetime. The last two lines of the stanza help to illustrate this: “Subtracting, till my finger dropped/ Into Van Dieman’s Land” (11, 12). “Van Dieman’s Land” is present day Tanzania in Australia. The image of the fingers dropping down into that land creates another image of that land being the after life, Hell. Even the name of the land “Van Dieman’s” intensifies the image. Dieman’s can be looked at as a fusion of two words, die and man. The stanza takes the longing of the speaker to see this love to new extremes. Instead of being slightly optimistic that her love will appear in this life, she extends the time in between meetings to months and, finally, centuries. She strengthens that skepticism of the delayed meetings to include the possibility of the afterlife.
The next stanza proves the afterlife theory correct, because Dickinson writes: “If certain, when this life was out-/ That yours and mine, should be/ I'd toss it yonder, like a Rind, / And take Eternity-“ (13-16). She has the speaker acknowledge that the two may not meet in this life and death is absolutely coming. Then she again brings back the hope of the speaker in a sweet sentiment. She says that she would throw away their life and death “And take Eternity” (16) with her love.
The final stanza brings a touch of intrigue and mystery again, as the first stanza does. The speaker states that she does not know when and if they will meet again, a tease to her like a little mischievous bee that will not state its purpose. The words “Goblin Bee” (19) are very profound. A goblin is a grotesque, sneaky, evil creature and a bee is a tiny insect that stings and hurts people. By putting the two together Dickinson gives time a sinister image, and illustrates the possibility of not having a reunion of lovers. Time has become an evil enticement, like the apple to Eve. The image, possibly, is to show that the time really is an evil enticement that will be the end of the perfection of their love, an end that may or may not end in reunion.
“If you were coming in the Fall” creates a multitude of images and questions in the reader. The indefiniteness of the outcome through out the poem adds to the strength of the theme: lovers may be lost, but time may rejoin them, even after death. The possibilities in the poem mirror the possibilities in life. Just because Dickinson does not give a definite ending does not mean a happy, or a sad, one is impossible, this simply illustrates that time is unpredictable and good and bad can occur.


| Posted on 2005-04-28 | by Approved Guest




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