All Overgrown by Cunning Moss, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"ALL OVERGROWN BY CUNNING MOSS" by Emily Dickinson pays homage to the author Charlotte Brontë (known by the pseudonym "Currer Bell") and her resting place in the churchyard of Haworth, England. The poem's imagery and language convey the sense of quiet and reverence surrounding Brontë's final resting place, as well as the impact of her literary contributions. Through the poem, Dickinson reflects on Brontë's journey and the idea of her reaching a heavenly reward.

"ALL OVERGROWN BY CUNNING MOSS"

All overgrown by cunning moss,
All interspersed with weed,
The little cage of "Currer Bell"
In quiet "Haworth" laid.
Gathered from many wanderings —
Gethsemane can tell
Thro' what transporting anguish
She reached the Asphodel!

Soft fall the sounds of Eden
Upon her puzzled ear —
Oh what an afternoon for Heaven,
When "Bronte" entered there!

Summary

"ALL OVERGROWN BY CUNNING MOSS" pays tribute to the author Charlotte Brontë, using vivid imagery to describe her final resting place in the churchyard of Haworth, England. The poem reflects on the challenges and wanderings Brontë experienced during her life, comparing them to the journey of Christ in Gethsemane. The poem also alludes to the idea that Brontë's arrival in heaven was a momentous occasion akin to an "afternoon for Heaven."

Critical Analysis

The opening lines set the scene with the imagery of Brontë's resting place being "overgrown by cunning moss" and "interspersed with weed." This description conveys a sense of nature quietly reclaiming the space and the passage of time.

The mention of the "little cage of 'Currer Bell'" refers to the pseudonym that Brontë used for her works, and "Haworth" is her place of burial. The phrase "In quiet 'Haworth' laid" underscores the peacefulness of her final resting place.

The poem suggests that Brontë's life was marked by wanderings and challenges, as indicated by "Gathered from many wanderings." The reference to Gethsemane, where Christ experienced profound anguish before his crucifixion, symbolizes the emotional and spiritual struggles that Brontë faced on her own journey.

The mention of "transporting anguish" implies that Brontë's experiences led her to a place of deep emotional transformation, akin to reaching the "Asphodel," which is a flower associated with the afterlife in Greek mythology.

The poem's conclusion invokes the idea of Brontë entering heaven, with the phrase "Soft fall the sounds of Eden / Upon her puzzled ear." The reference to "Bronte" entering heaven is described as an afternoon that is significant and memorable even for Heaven itself.

Themes

  • Legacy and Remembrance: The poem pays tribute to Charlotte Brontë's legacy and her final resting place. It reflects on her literary contributions and the reverence associated with her memory.
  • Life's Journeys: The poem alludes to the challenges and experiences that Brontë faced in her life, comparing them to wanderings and the emotional turmoil of Gethsemane.
  • Spiritual Transformation: The poem suggests that Brontë's struggles and anguish led to a spiritual transformation, aligning her experiences with the concept of reaching a higher plane.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Reverence: The poem conveys a sense of reverence and quiet respect for Brontë's final resting place and her literary contributions.
  • Reflection and Contemplation: The poem reflects on Brontë's life journey, her emotional struggles, and her eventual heavenly reward.

Literary Devices

  • Imagery: The poem uses vivid imagery to describe Brontë's resting place, her journey, and her eventual arrival in heaven.
  • Allusion: The poem alludes to Christ's experience in Gethsemane as a way to convey the emotional and spiritual struggles that Brontë faced.

Discussion Question

How does Emily Dickinson use imagery and allusion in "ALL OVER GROWN BY CUNNING MOSS" to convey a sense of reverence for Charlotte Brontë's legacy and a reflection on her life's journey and eventual heavenly reward?

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