God and Victory

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In Katherine A. Monteiro's piece on Emily Dickinson's poem "Victory comes late," she writes, "The narrator definitely mourns, not for something held and lost, but for something desired, yet ultimately beyond grasp" (30-31).  When I read the poem, I did not see this so much as a testament to lost or lacking love or desire, I saw it as a summation of lessons that God wants us to learn.  When Dickinson writes "Victory come late,"  I saw this as a sign that the person in the poem learned to be good according to God's laws too late to save his or her soul.  Dickinson writes, "His table's spread too high for us/ Unless we dine on tip-toe."  I think this means that God has such high standards for people that sometimes people cannot meet the standards and they fail to find "Victory," meaning they are unable to go to heaven.  When she writes, "God keeps his oath to sparrows,/ Who of little love/ Know how to starve!" I think she is referring to the message the Bible promotes that those who are poor and hungry on earth will be rich and well fed in heaven. 


Although this was my first thought and can be supported by the text, Monteiro's ideas can also be supported.  She believes that, "Dickinson shows her vision of the tragedy of war and the revivalist religion, which she found unsatisfying" (Monteiro 31).  Monteiro actually cites some of Dickinson's letters in order to validate her point, which is very plausible. 

Furthermore, some of the other blogs, specifically Tiffany's, said that the narrator is speaking of a desire she has that cannot be fulfilled no matter how hard she tries.  I believe that any of these ideas can be supported by the text, which simply shows how versatile Dickinson's writing is: she is able to invoke many thoughts and ideas in many different audiences. 

Click here to view more comments on Dickinson's "Victory comes late"

Click here to view more comments on Monteiro's analysis of the poem


Richelle Dodaro said:

I also saw this poem as what God wants of us and that the victory we feel is purely spiritual. We don't get everything we want as human beings and we end up asking why, when there are deeper things we can look at, such as loving your family, as victorious.

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