Critical Analysis Of The Theme Of 'Hope Is The Thing With Feathers'

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A Bird’s Eye View Emily Dickinson opens up her poem with the famous line, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words,’’. Paul Laurence Dunbar ends his poem with the line “I know why the caged bird sings!”. These two lines from the poets form the theme of the two poems. The poem “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson, and “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar both present a theme that suffering makes you appreciate hope much more. It seems that hope and pain are almost a dynamic duo. You cannot appreciate the good if you do not experience the bad. However in the poem “Sympathy”, by Dunbar, you can visualize the darker side of hope seeing as he gives more insight in the hurting side of hope. Both the poems use the metaphor of a bird to visualize the overall meaning of the poem. Dunbar uses his bird as a metaphor for the lack of freedom and …show more content…

Although the idea of suffering may seem more present in Sympathy, you can also see the suffering that comes with hope in Dickinson’s poem. A prime example of suffering in “Hope is the thing with feathers” can be seen in the beginning of the last stanza where Dickinson writes, “I’ve heard it in the chilliest land, and on the strangest sea”. Dickinson is referring to times where her suffering made her feel as if she was in a horrible place. The suffering could have been she was having a tough time but the hope was constant. At the end of the second stanza Dunbar explains his suffering saying, “And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars And they pulse again with a keener sting I know why he beats his wings!” This imagery creates physical scars; new ones and many old ones. This gives the idea of his suffering being reoccurring but the bird continues to beat his wings as a symbol of hope. This is also shown through Dickinson’s bird, which shows constant

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