Dying In The Night, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"DYING! DYING IN THE NIGHT!" is a poignant and emotional poem that reflects the vulnerability and fear associated with the prospect of death. The poem's speaker expresses a sense of desperation and seeks comfort and reassurance from religious figures and the presence of a loved one. The poem captures the human instinct to turn to faith and connection in moments of distress and uncertainty.

"DYING! DYING IN THE NIGHT!"

Dying! Dying in the night!
Won't somebody bring the light
So I can see which way to go
Into the everlasting snow?
And "Jesus"! Where is Jesus gone?
They said that Jesus — always came —
Perhaps he doesn't know the House —
This way, Jesus, Let him pass!
Somebody run to the great gate
And see if Dollie's coming! Wait!
I hear her feet upon the stair!
Death won't hurt — now Dollie's here!

Summary

"DYING! DYING IN THE NIGHT!" conveys the speaker's inner turmoil and vulnerability as they face the prospect of death. The speaker desperately seeks guidance, light, and the presence of religious figures, specifically Jesus, to provide comfort and assurance. The poem emphasizes the need for human connection and the presence of a loved one, Dollie, to dispel the fear and pain associated with death.

Critical Analysis

The poem vividly captures the speaker's sense of fear and urgency as they face the unknown territory of death. The repetition of the word "Dying!" at the beginning of the poem emphasizes the immediate and pressing nature of the situation.

The speaker's plea for light symbolizes the desire for clarity, understanding, and guidance in the face of death's uncertainty. Light is often associated with knowledge, hope, and divine presence.

The mention of "Jesus" reflects the speaker's search for spiritual solace and the reassurance that religious figures provide in moments of distress. The speaker's anticipation of Jesus's arrival underscores the deep-rooted belief in divine intervention and comfort.

The reference to "Dollie" as a loved one and source of comfort adds a personal dimension to the poem. Dollie's presence is contrasted with the fear of death, suggesting that the company of a loved one can alleviate the pain and fear associated with dying.

Themes

  • Fear of Death: The poem delves into the speaker's fear and vulnerability in the face of death. The urgent tone and repeated plea for light and guidance reflect the anxiety that often accompanies the contemplation of mortality.
  • Religious Comfort: The mention of "Jesus" and the speaker's search for his presence illustrate the human instinct to seek spiritual comfort and reassurance in times of distress and uncertainty.
  • Human Connection: The presence of Dollie and the speaker's anticipation of her arrival highlight the importance of human connection and the comfort that a loved one can provide, even in the face of death.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Fear and Urgency: The urgent repetition of "Dying!" and the speaker's desperate plea for light and guidance convey a sense of fear and urgency as they face the prospect of death.
  • Seeking Comfort: The speaker's reference to "Jesus" and the anticipation of Dollie's arrival reflect their search for comfort, reassurance, and human connection in a moment of distress.

Literary Devices

  • Repetition: The repetition of "Dying!" at the beginning of the poem emphasizes the urgency and immediate nature of the speaker's situation.
  • Symbolism: The request for light symbolizes the need for guidance, understanding, and clarity in the face of death's uncertainty.
  • Allusion: The mention of "Jesus" alludes to religious figures and the comfort they provide in times of distress.

Discussion Question

How does "DYING! DYING IN THE NIGHT!" reflect the speaker's fear of death and their search for comfort, guidance, and human connection? How do the references to "Jesus" and Dollie emphasize the role of faith and personal relationships in moments of vulnerability?

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