The Description Of Pain In Emily Dickinson

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The Description Of Pain In Emily Dickinson’s Poetry Essay, Research Paper The Description Of Pain In Emily Dickinson’s Poetry In her description of pain, Emily Dickinson treats its effects on both the body and the soul. In poem 244, she presents a comparison between physical and psychological pain. According to poem 806, pain is a state through which the soul gets liberated from the body. The poet also describes the way Doctors struggle with pain and find themselves helpless in front of some kinds of it as in poems 177 and 396. Another phenomenon that is associated with extreme pain is described in poem 599. 1. Pain has Great Effects on the Body and the Soul The Comparison between Physical and Psychological Pain The poem 244 illustrates how emotional pain prevents any

kind of enjoyment or work. It is easy for a person to work when the soul is at play, or when everything is going all right. But, when one is in pain and his thoughts are also dismal or sad from other causes, it is hard to keep on with regular tasks: It is easy to work when the soul is at play - But when the soul is in pain - The hearing him put his playthings up Makes work difficult – then — It is simple, to ache in the Bone, or the Rind – But Gimlets – among the nerve - Mangle daintier – terribler - Like a Panther in the Glove – The first line of that poem indicates a universal role “It is easy to work when the soul is at play–” When the spirit is feeling well, the body would engage in working without any difficulty. Both body and soul would then be in harmony.

But if the soul is in pain, work becomes very difficult. The soul does not accept even to hear its holder put his “playthings up”. To stress the importance of emotional pain the speaker makes a comparison between physical and psychological pain. According to the persona, physical pain is simple and easy when compared to psychological pain. To strengthen this idea, an extreme example of physical pain is used: It is simple, to ache in the Bone, or the Rind - It is simple to ache in the bones as with rheumatism or age, for example or in the rind (bark of a tree, poetically meaning the skin of human beings). But when paralleled with what happens to “nerves”, physical pain becomes an easy thing. Nerves here may be referring to feelings and emotions. The degree of pain suffered

by “nerves” is illustrated by likening it to the work of gimlets in wood pieces. As the gimlet turns rapidly round its pointed head to make a hole into wooden pieces, sharp pain attacks the feelings to do much more harm than a gimlet would do to wood. The speaker uses the gimlet to illustrate the degree of the pain. However, she would remind the reader that the pain is harder and terribler than the stated example would suggest. The last line presents a challenging representation: Like a panther in the glove When gimlets are digging around in one’s nerves (when he is deeply “on edge”) then it all feels like a “panther in the glove.” Simply imagine a panther, clawing around in a glove you are wearing. Its claws dig in and scrape, driving the patient into a terrible

state of pain. In sum, when the world is going all right, pain is not too hard to take. But when one’s thoughts are going badly, it can be extremely difficult to take pain. The state of mind has tremendous power over the way we react to pain. However, according to Cynthia Hallen, the glove in this poem has a figurative meaning. A glove is a protective covering for the hand; but its figurative meaning here is “skin; protective covering on nerve fibers.” . Therefore, the illustration “panther in the glove” could be a representation of the degree of pain. The feelings of the sufferer would be as if a panther were constantly clawing around inside his skin. It is surely a strange representation. And it could be aimed at depicting how horrifying and sinister the state of pain