Oh, the taste of victory!

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How sweet it would have tasted,
Just a drop!   (Dickinson, Lines 5-6)

As I spoke of in my last entry, the themes of death and dispair are still present.  Generally speaking, it seems as if Dickinson is trying to grasp that glitter of hope, and is once again shut down. The poem even sounds sullen and regretful. 

In the excerpt that I chose, Dickinson is revealing that tone. It's as if she's screaming "Oh what it would have been like to succeed.  Just once!"  Reading it, I noticed how easy it was to relate to, and how easy it was to feel sad.  It was like you could feel her pain.  But that's Dickinson for you.  Bring on the death and despair!

Added on 2/18/08

"Victory comes late,    
And is held low to freezing lips    
Too rapt with frost    
To take it."

I wanted to include this exceprt in my entry because after reading Katherine's article, its realism astounded me.  I could not believe how Dickinson portrayed such a desolate image with such beautiful poetry.  Being that this is about the defeat of soliders and their never ending battle with war and destruction, victory became so much more than just a word.  It became an unreachable symbol in their eyes.  When she says that "Victory came late" she is referring to that death came first.  So often in history do we find our heros die before the cause they were fighting for comes to light.  

I also wanted to note the imagery she uses in combination with realism.  She does not hide the image of our soldiers frozen lips because it heightens the intensity of the poem.  To say that it is held to their lips, but they are to rapt with frost to take it, implies that victory is in the form of nourishment.  It's like it would be the thing to save them in the end, if they did not reach their demise. This poem makes victory out to be so much more than the winning of a battle. 

 

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3 Comments

Greta Carroll said:

You make a good point Stephanie. It really is like she is just grasping at straws for some hope. Staying inside your house all the time would give a person a lot of time to think about things such as death. And it seems in this abundance of time, that is exactly what Dickinson did. And therefore, she had plenty of time to vacillate between her two opinions of death being a positive thing and it being a negative one.

Kaitlin Monier said:

I agree that this is easy to relate too. It especially reminds me of setting goals. Sometimes, big goals are hard to reach, and you just can't seem to reach them. You try and try, but just can't make it. It is a feeling of despair.

This image made me think of the dying soldiers on the battlefield, thirsting for one last drop of water. They wanted to know that they were not dying for nothing. But, well, as the poem's title says "Victory Comes Late".

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