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After great pain, a formal feeling comes

Emily Dickinson

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Added by: miss q
Mr. X, Y, and Z were funny as hell!!!
Added by: Marlena
I liked the poem. I think this poem talks about death in a way that none of us can concieve of. The author of this poem is dead, so it makes me wonder if her journey in the after life was anything like this. No, I don't think that she was gay. I think that's just a rumor.
Freshman Compositionll
Added by: LaRhonda Thompson
I need to find out what she was thinking of when she wrote After Great Pain. Like when she wrote The feet, mechanical,go round. As freezing persons, recollect the snow. ect....
Added by: RoseWisenbaker
I think this poem is talking about a lost love. She says:

The Feet, mechanical, go round—

more or less saying she goes about her daily routines in a mechanical way. and:

As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow—
First—Chill—then Stupor—then the letting go—

talking about the actual forgetting of whoever broke her heart.
Poem 341
Added by: Sylvia
I'm interpreting the poem as a reference to Death. In Emily's life, close friends and family died frequently, and that's why a lot of her poetry is preoccupied with it. There was even a man who proposed marriage to her, and while she hesitated to reply, he died before she had the chance. There are so many references to death-- "ceremoniously [like a funeral]," "like Tombs," "stiff Heart," "He, that bore [God taking the soul away?]," "Of Ground, or Air," "Wooden [like a casket]," "like a stone," "the letting go..." I think I'm reading it to mean that whether you're the one who died or the one still living, the feel is about the same. "Remembered, if outlived," she says, like she's in doubt herself whether this is the living person or the dead one. The dead and the one in mourning are both void of emotion. I think the whole poem could read from either perspective. Even the feet going round is "Of Ground, or Air," meaning live feet on the floor or the routine motions of a ghost.
After great pain
Added by: Tamara
This poem is not about death, this poem is about surviving through something traumatic. After great pain a formal feeling comes - meaning one becomes rigid. The Nerves sit (personification) ceremoniously like tombs - the nerves are deadened. The stiff heart questions was it he that bore - refering to Jesus Christ bearing a cross (did he feel this kind of pain?) And yesterday, or centuries before? One loses track of time when they're in a state such as this. The mechanical feet go round - the feeling of going through the motions almost like a robot. Of ground or air or ought - a wooden way regardless grown - meaning one doesn't really care how they do things when they have this sense of overwhelming grief. This is the hour of lead - cold, grey, emotionless because you've gotten past the initial shock and are left to merely exist. Remembered, if out lived - you will never forget this feeling, if you don't die from the grief. She describes the feeling as a person who freezes to death feels it - first chill (the shock when you first find out), then stupor (this feeling of numbness when you begin to grasp the magnitude of what has happened), then the letting go (can mean either the surrendering to die, or the letting go meaning once you get through it, you can let go of the pain and get on with life).
Added by: Mo
Look, this poem is clearly a meditation on death. In analyzing a poem it is critical (epecially in American poetry) to form an analysis based soley on the poets mindset. Although a poem may evoke strong emotion within us, this may not be the same emotion the poet is trying to convey. Dickinson was a recluse in her waning years and was struck by emotional trauma, the source of which was death. This poem is a description of the emotion (or lack of) one experiences after the "great pain" that is death.

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