Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems
The Weakness of Companionship
Emily Dickinson's poem, “My Life Had Stood - A Loaded Gun,” explores grim themes found behind the romanticized perception of love. In the beginning of the work, Dickinson shows the headstrong and volatile nature of the speaker. A man chooses this woman and accompanies her intimately throughout their lives. She affirms that she feels fully content with this man, and as a result, she states that she is prepared to protect their relationship via any means necessary. Despite the speaker's apparent satisfaction, the last section of the piece reveals that she would rather die than live a lonely life without her partner. This poem illustrates that embracing love may beget traits of weakness such as dependency, jealousy, and obsession.
Dickinson's work introduces the speaker as a woman with a great deal of explosive potential. In the first stanza, she describes herself as a loaded gun sitting in the corner, remaining idle until the day she is claimed: “The Owner passed - identified -/And carried Me away -” (3-4). With these depictive details, the speaker initially exudes an aura of fortitude. However, upon closer examination, it can be argued that this woman is the host to a range of weaknesses. Dependency is the trait of...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1039 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8013 literature essays, 2248 sample college application essays, 348 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in