Posted by John on .
Writeacher, I'm finding it difficult to rephrase the poem "I had been hungry all the Years" by Emily Dickinson.
I wonder if you could help me.
1) Dickinson’s poetic universe is characterized by personal deprivation. In particular, in poem 579, “I had been hungry, all the Years” she imagines herself dining again after many years of unsatisfied hunger.
2) In the first stanza she writes that her “Noon” has come “to dine”. In the second stanza she claims that she had imagined this moment often enough, as she stared through windows into opulent houses where people were “eating”.
3) She knew she could not even hope for such abundant happiness. She had never experienced the ample bread as she was used to sharing the “crumbs” with the birds in nature’s dining room. In other words, she had always starved.
4) The crumbs always left her hungry and frustrated, exiled from human society. Trembling with eagerness, she draws the table close to her and merely touches the strange wine. This abundance, however, hurts her.
5) She feels strange and compares herself to a berry which, transplanted from a mountain bush to the public highway, dies. Her self has been so completely defined by its starvation that food threatens to destroy it.
6) Thus she resists food in order to survive. She states that hunger is the conditions of those who, like her, are fully detached from social life. Here it becomes clear that her starvation is above all an emotional one.
I'm only on my phone right now, but I can get on a computer in a few hours. OK?
I think you are right in your analysis of this poem. Here is a teacher's approach to this poem, and I believe (as this teacher would also believe) that you are right to interpret the poem metaphorically, not literally.