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Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

Emily Dickinson

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What's this about?
Added by: Ashley
This poem is about how the truth should not be told fully right away but that you must gradually tell the truth so not to offend anyone. And that the truth told in moderation is the best way to reveal the truth. And also that white lies are not always the best things.
Added by: Matt Raspo
This poem is about the beauty of truth and how things aren't always what they seem. There are words which show progression.
Added by: Susan Daggett
This is one of my favorite Dickenson poems. As a lifetime student and occasional teacher, it is clear to me that many times "the truth" is staring us in the face, but we don't have the capability to see it. It often takes working up to it in tiny increments. This holds true for learning new subject academic matter or, more importantly life's lessons.
Added by: Shirls
This poem demonstrates what Jesus Christ was doing when he told His disciples the Truth through parables. He knew that the whole Truth could not be absorbed by limited minds, so He told it "slant" through stories.
Religion and Politics
Added by: Chris Aherne
I see this poem as distinctly spiritual, but carrying strong political undertones. The "Truth" being referred to here is Dickinson's own individual truth, a mixture of her Puritan upbringing and her strong Transcendentalist leanings. Dickinson could not as a poet accept the puritan placing of God as a central figure, explicable only through revelation. For Dickinson, God is unexplicable, ungraspable by the human mind. Here we can see how the "Truth" may blind - both that the Puritrans at the time could not accept this view of God, and that Dickinson's God cannot be understood by the human mind.

Alternatively, a particular political irony can be found in this poem, one that could travel through in relevance to today. Does Dickinson see political success as resting in circular lies, lies that confuse but in a round-about way would feign to make sense(Truth)? However the spiritual reading is the prevalent one, and in my opinion the closest to the intentions and sentiments that Dickinson wished to bring to the reader; if a reader be intended.
Past Watchful Dragons
Added by: Fred Putnam
C. S. Lewis said that he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia in order to sneak Christian truth "past the watchful dragons" of antagonistic parents and caregivers (I think that his term was "guardians of the nursery").

Perhaps her poem reflects not only the spirituality mentioned in the earrlier comments, but also the general experience (my experience as a teacher) that understanding or truth is more often "caught" than taught.

I have often wondered what the "explanation kind" entailed. Zeus's thunderbolts, perhaps?
Added by: ren
i believe that Dickenson is trying to say that the truth should be told with out details. then the details will appear with time when the whole truth cannot do as much harm.

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