Emily Dickinson Literary Devices

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When writers add in seemingly random details such as capitalizations and dashes, one should pay attention. Emily Dickenson’s “There’s a certain Slant of light” is simply about light passing over the landscape, but no poem is only about what it seems. Dickenson uses caesura, juxtaposition, personification, and other literary devices to convey a dark, negative tone about the light throughout the poem. In the first stanza, there is rhyming with the second and fourth lines followed by a dash. The rhythm is a longer line followed by a shorter line. This helps the poem flow but then stop with the short line and dash. The “certain Slant of light” is the focus of the whole poem (1). It is peculiar that she uses the word certain. This evokes that…show more content…
Earth is connected to the light and it is related to death. The “Landscape listens” is consonance and personification (13). The consonance of the /l/ sound followed by the /s/ sound evokes a quiet passing over everything. The personification of the landscape has it interacting and submitting to the light. The “Shadows” also submit to the light with the use of personification (14). The caesura surrounding “hold their breath” makes the reader actually hold their breath in this line (14). “Shadows” are the opposite of light, but the light has power over the shadows (14). Both the landscape and shadows tie to the theme of the Earth waiting for and yielding to the light that holds power. The light “oppresses,” causes “hurt”, and then “goes” (3, 4, 15). When the light “goes” it is described as negative through the simile “like the Distance On the look of Death” (15, 16). “Distance On the look of Death” compares the light leaving to the parting on the appearance of death (16). “Death” is capitalized showing its importance and significance in addition to its being the last line of the poem. The first line and the last line are connected through the light and death, demonstrating the relationship of the negativity and finality of death to the limited, specific light (1, 16). The rhyme scheme in only the last stanza is ABAB marking the increasing connection between the lines of the poem. “Death” and “breath” rhyme, associating the lack of breath to death (14, 16). The light that is causing the shadows to stop breathing is the same light likened to death. This negative, dark light could be killing which is ironic because this light has a tone of
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