Honors English II – Mr. Johnson
January 29, 2007
Analysis of “I dwell in Possibility”
“I dwell in Possibility” was written by the great, American poet Emily Dickinson. She was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830. Formally educated, she was raised in a prominent, Puritan family. After a horribly devastating heartbreak, she slowly isolated herself; ultimately leading to a complete seclusion, until her death. She often wrote using broken rhyming schemes, as well as dashes, and capitalization. Some say Dickinson was one of the most original poets of the 19th century. She had influences of such acclaimed writers as John Keats, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; but maintained her own ingenuity, and strayed from other popular writers of the time. Through the poem “I dwell in Possibility,” Dickinson praises the benefits and powerful potential of possibility, using imagery and metaphors – both extended, and normal.
The speaker begins the poem in first person, stating “I dwell in Possibility,” (line 1). This clearly suggests that Possibility is an actual realm where one can physically be. As the poem goes on to the next line, the speaker figuratively transforms the concept of possibility into the bodily object of a house “A fairer House than Prose” (line two). Similar to possibility, one is either born into a house, or later does something to allow that person to move into that house; such is the same case as possibility. One is either virtually born into the possibility of something, or is born and afterward does something to set up the possibility of another thing. One can then further infer that because the speaker ultimately obtains paradise, that paradise is obtained through possibility –and actions taken to set up possibility. Line two sets up an extended metaphor which would continue throughout the poem. During the next six lines the speaker illustrates the picturesque house of Possibility; cedar chambers, everlasting roofs,...