Emily Dickinson's Poetry Compare/Contrast Essay

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Grappling with the World Around Us In her two poems “Success is counted sweetest… (112)” and “The Brain—is wider than the Sky—(598),” Emily Dickinson explores the relationship between the brain and the outer world: the relationship between perception and experience. The first poem, “Success is counted sweetest… (112)” explains how experience changes perception. In the poem, Dickinson explains how success is best defined by those who have experienced defeat. To begin, the speaker states “those who ne’er succeed” (59) place the highest value on success (they “count” it “sweetest”) (59). The speaker illustrates this point by explaining that in order to understand the value of nectar, one must first feel the “sorest need” (59). Nectar, a symbol…show more content…
In the first stanza, the speaker states that “The Brain—is wider than the Sky—“(269). Because the human brain is not physically larger than the sky, the brain takes on a symbolic meaning. The brain is infinitely larger than the sky because of the unlimited expanse of the human imagination, intellect, and consciousness—all of which are immeasurable. According to the speaker, the brain can easily contain the sky (The one the other will contain/With ease—“(269). Also, the brain can contain the reader (“and You—beside—“)…show more content…
Instead of the sky, the speaker states that “The Brain is deeper than the sea—“(269). Once again, Dickinson states that the depth of the human mind is greater than that of the ocean. Not only is the brain deeper than the ocean, but it can absorb infinite amounts of information “As Sponges—Buckets—do” (269). In the first and second stanzas, the speaker compares the brain to the sky and the ocean. These comparisons suggest that through the human brain, man conquers the natural world. In the third stanza, the speaker suggests “the Brain is just the weight of God” (269). They are the same “Pound for Pound” just as deeper than the sea “Blue for Blue” (269). The speaker boldly continues the comparison, suggesting that if the brain differs from God, it differs in the same way “As Syllable from Sound” (269). Here, Dickinson connects God to the natural world, tying her argument together. A sound is raw—a thunderclap, waves breaking the coastline, etc. A syllable; however, is the way the human mind interprets a sound, and, therefore, making it more sophisticated than natural sound. Although God created nature, the human mind envelopes and processes nature, creating something

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