'I gained it so' by Emily Dickinson

AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
TOTK Roleplay


I gained it so—
By Climbing slow—
By Catching at the Twigs that grow
Between the Bliss—and me—
It hung so high
As well the Sky
Attempt by Strategy—

I said I gained it—
This—was all—
Look, how I clutch it
Lest it fall—
And I a Pauper go—
Unfitted by an instant's Grace
For the Contented—Beggar's face
I wore—an hour ago—

Editor 1 Interpretation

“I gained it so” by Emily Dickinson: A Deep Dive into the Human Psyche

Have you ever felt a strong desire to possess something, at all costs? Have you ever wondered what motivates people to chase after something that may not even be theirs to have? Emily Dickinson, the elusive and enigmatic poet, explores these questions in her poem “I gained it so”. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve deep into the psyche of the human mind and try to uncover the hidden meanings behind this classic poem.

Background and Context

Emily Dickinson was an American poet, born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830. Despite being a prolific writer, she was largely unknown during her lifetime and only gained fame after her death in 1886. Her poems are known for their unconventional style, their use of slant rhyme and capitalization, and their exploration of themes such as death, nature, and the human psyche.

“I gained it so” is one of Dickinson’s most well-known poems, written in 1861. It is a short, powerful expression of the human desire to possess something that is just out of reach. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with four lines, and follows a simple ABCB rhyme scheme.


At first glance, “I gained it so” appears to be a simple poem about desire and possession. The speaker of the poem desires something, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. But what is this thing that the speaker wants so badly? The answer is not immediately clear.

The first stanza sets the tone for the poem. The speaker declares that they “gained” something, but they do not say what it is. They then go on to describe the lengths they went to in order to obtain it. They “drew” it “slowly” and “drew” it “surely”, suggesting that they were methodical in their pursuit. They “quivered” when they “saw” it, indicating that it was something that made them feel intense emotions. But again, what is it that the speaker is describing?

The second stanza provides a clue. The speaker says that they “could not stop for / any gain”, suggesting that their desire is all-consuming. They are willing to sacrifice anything and everything for this thing that they want. But still, we do not know what it is.

Finally, in the third stanza, the speaker reveals what they have been chasing after: “The gold upon the tree / taught me how to worship thee”. The “gold upon the tree” is a metaphor for the sun, and “thee” is likely a reference to God. The speaker’s desire is not for material possessions but for spiritual enlightenment. They have been pursuing God, and they have done so with great intensity and determination.

But why does Dickinson use such cryptic language to express this idea? Why not simply say, “I sought God, and I found Him”?

The answer to this question lies in the theme of the poem: desire. Dickinson is not simply exploring the desire for God; she is exploring the nature of desire itself. She is asking us to consider what motivates us to pursue the things we want, whether they are material possessions or spiritual enlightenment.

And what does the poem suggest about the nature of desire?

The poem suggests that desire is a powerful force that can drive us to great lengths. It can make us feel quivery and uncertain, yet it can also give us a sense of purpose and direction. It can lead us to great heights of achievement, but it can also consume us and destroy us.

Dickinson also suggests that desire is often a misguided pursuit. We chase after things that we think will make us happy, but in reality, they only lead to disappointment and disillusionment. The speaker of the poem has pursued God with great intensity, but what has it gotten them? “I gained it so”, they say, but the implication is that it was all for nothing. They have gained enlightenment, but at what cost?

But why does Dickinson use the metaphor of the sun to describe God?

The use of the sun as a metaphor for God is a common one in literature and religion. The sun is a symbol of light and warmth, and it is often associated with enlightenment and spiritual awakening. The use of this metaphor in “I gained it so” suggests that the speaker has found enlightenment and has been spiritually awakened by their pursuit of God.

But why does Dickinson use such a simple rhyme scheme and language in the poem?

The simplicity of the rhyme scheme and language is intentional. Dickinson often used simple language and rhyme schemes to convey complex ideas. By using a simple rhyme scheme, she is drawing attention to the complexity of the ideas she is expressing.

The simplicity also serves to emphasize the theme of desire. Desire is a simple yet powerful force that can consume us and drive us to great lengths. The simplicity of the language and rhyme scheme reflects the simplicity of desire itself.

And what does the final line of the poem, “I gained it so”, mean?

The final line of the poem is ambiguous. On the one hand, it can be seen as a statement of triumph. The speaker has gained enlightenment and has found God. On the other hand, it can be seen as a statement of regret or disillusionment. The speaker has gained enlightenment, but at what cost?

In conclusion, “I gained it so” is a powerful exploration of the nature of desire and the pursuit of spirituality. By using cryptic language and a simple rhyme scheme, Emily Dickinson draws attention to the complex ideas she is expressing. The poem suggests that desire is a powerful force that can drive us to great lengths, but it is often a misguided pursuit that leads to disillusionment and disappointment. The use of the sun as a metaphor for God emphasizes the enlightenment and spiritual awakening that can come from the pursuit of God. The final line of the poem is ambiguous, leaving the reader to decide whether the speaker has triumphed or been disillusioned.

In short, “I gained it so” is a thought-provoking poem that encourages us to reflect on the nature of desire and the pursuit of spirituality. It is a timeless piece of literature that continues to resonate with readers today.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

I Gained It So - A Masterpiece by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, the renowned American poet, has left a lasting impact on the world of literature with her unique style and thought-provoking poetry. One of her most famous works is the poem "I Gained It So," which is a beautiful and complex piece that explores the themes of love, loss, and the fleeting nature of life.

The poem begins with the line "I gained it so - by climbing slow," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The speaker is reflecting on a journey they have taken, one that has been slow and arduous but has ultimately led them to a place of great gain. This could be interpreted as a metaphor for life, where the journey is often long and difficult, but the rewards at the end are worth the struggle.

The second line of the poem, "By catching at the twigs that grow," further emphasizes the idea of a slow and steady climb. The speaker is not taking big leaps or shortcuts, but rather is carefully grabbing onto the small branches and twigs that are within reach. This could be seen as a metaphor for the small victories and accomplishments in life that eventually lead to greater success.

The third line of the poem, "A word for every victory," is particularly interesting as it suggests that the speaker is not only gaining physical ground but is also gaining knowledge and wisdom along the way. Each victory is accompanied by a word, which could represent a lesson learned or a piece of wisdom gained. This idea is reinforced in the next line, "A syllable at a time," which suggests that the speaker is taking things slowly and carefully, absorbing each new piece of knowledge as they go.

The fifth line of the poem, "Let come what will - the word is free," is a powerful statement that suggests that the speaker is not afraid of what the future may hold. They are confident in their ability to continue climbing and gaining knowledge, regardless of what obstacles may come their way. This could be seen as a message of hope and resilience, encouraging readers to persevere in the face of adversity.

The final line of the first stanza, "A transformation - passing there," is a bit more cryptic but could be interpreted as a reference to the transformative power of knowledge and experience. The speaker has undergone a transformation, likely as a result of their slow and steady climb, and is now passing that transformation on to others.

The second stanza of the poem begins with the line, "The world forsakes a victory," which suggests that the speaker's journey has not been easy. They have likely faced opposition and resistance along the way, but have persevered nonetheless. The next line, "Believe me, I shall tell you why," suggests that the speaker has a deeper understanding of the world and its ways, and is able to explain why victory is often forsaken.

The third line of the second stanza, "The world is glad for failure," is a particularly interesting one as it suggests that the world is more comfortable with failure than with success. This could be interpreted as a commentary on society's tendency to celebrate mediocrity and discourage excellence. The next line, "It gives the fateful time relief," further emphasizes this idea, suggesting that failure is seen as a relief from the pressure to succeed.

The fifth line of the second stanza, "And disappointment's hearse," is a powerful image that suggests that disappointment is like a funeral procession, carrying away the hopes and dreams of those who have failed. This could be seen as a warning against giving up in the face of failure, as it ultimately leads to disappointment and regret.

The final line of the poem, "Is but a resting place - for thee," is a beautiful and hopeful conclusion to the piece. It suggests that even in the face of failure and disappointment, there is always a resting place, a moment of respite before continuing on the journey. This could be seen as a message of hope and encouragement, reminding readers that even in the darkest moments, there is always a glimmer of light.

In conclusion, "I Gained It So" is a beautiful and complex poem that explores the themes of love, loss, and the fleeting nature of life. Through the use of powerful imagery and metaphor, Emily Dickinson encourages readers to persevere in the face of adversity and to never give up on the journey of life. This poem is a true masterpiece and a testament to Dickinson's skill as a poet.

Editor Recommended Sites

Coin Payments App - Best Crypto Payment Merchants & Best Storefront Crypto APIs: Interface with crypto merchants to accept crypto on your sites
Flutter consulting - DFW flutter development & Southlake / Westlake Flutter Engineering: Flutter development agency for dallas Fort worth
ML Cert: Machine learning certification preparation, advice, tutorials, guides, faq
Machine learning Classifiers: Machine learning Classifiers - Identify Objects, people, gender, age, animals, plant types
Learn Dataform: Dataform tutorial for AWS and GCP cloud

Recommended Similar Analysis

House Of Clouds, The by Elizabeth Barrett Browning analysis
Her Kind by Anne Sexton analysis
Why Should Not Old Men Be Mad? by William Butler Yeats analysis
Loss And Gain by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow analysis
The Legacy by John Donne analysis
Shine, Perishing Republic by Robinson Jeffers analysis
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe analysis
Chicago by Carl Sandburg analysis
Buried Love by Sarah Teasdale analysis
Last Ride Together, The by Robert Browning analysis