Lesson 11 Self-Identity:

Emily Dickinson


Part I: "I Am Nobody"

Post-reading questions:

1) What do you think is the tone of the poem?
2) How do you think Dickinson feels about being a Nobody? Explain.

Part II: "I Dwell in Possibilities"

Pre-reading question:

1) While reading, try to decide how Dickinson is using the word "possibilities".

Post-reading questions:

1) Where do you think the speaker in this poem dwells? Explain your answer.

Part III: "This was a Poet - It is That"

Pre-reading question: attar, discloser

Post-reading questions:

1) According to the speaker, what powers does a poet have?
2) Explain the metaphors of "Poverty" and "Fortune" and how they contribute to the poem's themes.

Part IV: "Much Madness is Divinest Sense"

Post-reading questions:

1) How might this poem be seen as an insight into Dickinson's self-image?
2) What images does she use to describe the individual and society? How do these images affect your reaction to the poem?

Related Links:

Emily Dickinson biography and works: http://www.online-literature.com/dickinson/

Emily Dickinson International Society homepage: http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/edisindex.html

Dickinson Electronic Archives, includes teaching materials: http://www.iath.virginia.edu/dickinson/

Emily Dickinson collection at Bartleby.com: http://www.bartleby.com/people/DickinsoE.html

Perspective in American Literature, ED: http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap4/dickinson.html

The Emily Dickinson Homestead homepage: http://www.dickinsonhomestead.org/

A Concordance for ED (and others): http://www.concordance.com/

Mount Holyoke http://www.mtholyoke.edu/

Emily Dickinson's Black cake recipe! http://www.geocities.com/edickinson2002/blackcake.html

Steps for writing an explication de texte: http://www.complit.uiuc.edu/CLIT141/2002/EXPLICATION.html

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