Video appunto: Dickinson, Emily - Hope is the thing with feathers

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson was born in Massachusetts in 1830. During her childhood she was sociable, but then she withdrew into her inner world. This sense of isolation and solitude is revealed in her poems, in fact, Dickinson is considered one of the greatest poets of inwardness.

Dickinson writes about her own feelings in a universal tone: every reader can find his own emotions in these poems. Expressing the solitude and the silence of our existence, she shows the immensity of the human soul and its incommunicable spaces.
Dickinson reveals how things continuously change and she expresses the painful uncertainty of human life. Death is painful because it shatters our relationships, but it is also hope of immortality.
Dickinson shows her perception of reality using an innovative and aphoristic style: substantial meanings are expressed in few words. The syntax is often obscure and ambiguous: it is characterized by the use of monosyllabic words, pauses and gaps that open to different interpretations and show a kind of poetry immersed in solitude and silence.

Hope is the thing with feathers

In this poem, Dickinson expresses her awareness of the immense dignity and importance of human soul, involved in the adventure of life. Every human needs hope because it’s what we need in order to find a reason and continue living even when we’re feeling down.
The poetess uses the concrete and physical image of a bird to show the abstract idea of hope. Feathers represent hope because they allow us to fly, to be free and happy, while despair is a terrible weight for our soul.
Hope is compared to a small bird that sings a tune even in the most powerful storm. This metaphor means that hope doesn’t speak to us in a conventional way: it is a feeling that we get, not always a rational one, that helps us to overcome difficulties.
Hope “springs eternal”: it is always within us despite all of our troubles. It is a kind of visiting helper who doesn’t remand anything in return. Hope is a free gift that exists for all of us. Its song can be heard over the strangest seas, coldest lands, and in the worst storms. Hope rests in our soul as a bird rests on its perch even in the darkest times of despair. Hope is that force which endures in the human prevailing even when there is no cause or reason to be hopeful.