"HOUSES" — SO THE WISE MEN TELL ME by Emily Dickinson contemplates the concept of "mansions" as described by wise individuals. Through vivid imagery and metaphors, the poem explores the idea that mansions are considered to be warm, protective, and exclusive spaces that shield inhabitants from tears and storms. The poem also alludes to spiritual interpretations, where "many mansions" may refer to different levels of existence or the afterlife. The speaker's curiosity about these "mansions" and the possibility of reaching them reflects a longing for something beyond the earthly realm.
"HOUSES" — SO THE WISE MEN TELL ME
"Houses" — so the Wise Men tell me —
"Mansions"! Mansions must be warm!
Mansions cannot let the tears in,
Mansions must exclude the storm!
"Many Mansions," by "his Father,"
I don't know him; snugly built!
Could the Children find the way there —
Some, would even trudge tonight!
"HOUSES" — SO THE WISE MEN TELL ME explores the concept of "mansions" as described by wise individuals. The poem suggests that mansions are spaces of comfort, protection, and exclusivity, offering shelter from emotional turmoil and external challenges. The speaker expresses curiosity about these mansions, alluding to a spiritual interpretation where the idea of "many mansions" may refer to different levels of existence or an afterlife. The poem conveys a sense of longing for something beyond the earthly realm and a potential journey towards these mysterious "mansions."
The poem begins with the phrase "Houses" — so the Wise Men tell me," indicating that the speaker is recounting the wisdom shared by knowledgeable individuals. The contrast between "Houses" and "Mansions" suggests a distinction between ordinary dwellings and more grand and protected spaces.
The lines "Mansions must be warm! / Mansions cannot let the tears in" emphasize the sense of comfort and protection associated with mansions. The metaphor of excluding tears suggests that mansions provide solace and emotional refuge.
The use of "Many Mansions" alludes to a biblical reference, possibly to John 14:2, where Jesus speaks of "In my Father's house are many mansions." This allusion adds a spiritual dimension to the poem, suggesting that the mansions may have a deeper significance related to the divine.
The speaker acknowledges not knowing "his Father" and the concept of the snugly built mansions. The phrase "snugly built" conveys a sense of security and careful construction.
The poem ends with the intriguing idea that some individuals, referred to as "the Children," might be willing to "trudge" towards the mansions even tonight. This line raises questions about the nature of this journey and the longing for a greater spiritual experience.
- Spiritual Exploration: The poem explores the concept of "mansions" as described by wise individuals, alluding to the idea of different levels of existence or an afterlife. The speaker's curiosity and willingness to explore this concept reflect a desire for deeper spiritual understanding.
- Comfort and Protection: The poem highlights the idea that mansions are associated with comfort, warmth, and protection from emotional challenges and external storms.
- Longing and Curiosity: The poem conveys a sense of longing for something beyond the earthly realm and expresses curiosity about the possibility of reaching these mysterious mansions.
- Curiosity: The poem reflects the speaker's curiosity and interest in the concept of mansions and their potential significance.
- Longing: The poem conveys a sense of longing for something more than the ordinary and a desire to explore the idea of mansions.
- Metaphor: The metaphor of "mansions" is used to convey the idea of protected, comfortable, and exclusive spaces.
- Allusion: The reference to "Many Mansions" alludes to a biblical passage and adds a spiritual layer to the poem.
How does the poem's exploration of "mansions" evoke a sense of spiritual curiosity and a longing for something beyond the earthly realm? How do the metaphors of warmth and protection contribute to the interpretation of mansions as places of comfort and solace?