She Went As Quiet As The Dew, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"SHE WENT AS QUIET AS THE DEW" by Emily Dickinson reflects on the passing of someone dear, comparing their departure to the quiet and gentle nature of dew and stars. The poem conveys a sense of loss, as well as the difficulty of accepting the absence of the departed person. Through vivid imagery, Dickinson captures the bittersweet emotions associated with the departure of a loved one.

"SHE WENT AS QUIET AS THE DEW"

She went as quiet as the dew
From a familiar flower.
Not like the dew did she return
At the accustomed hour !

She dropt as softly as a star
From out my summer's eve ;
Less skilful than Leverrier
It's sorer to believe!

Summary

"SHE WENT AS QUIET AS THE DEW" contemplates the departure of a dear person, likening their exit to the gentle and unobtrusive nature of dew and stars. The poem contrasts the quiet departure with the absence of a return as anticipated, leading the speaker to grapple with the emotional impact of the loss. The poem's final lines allude to the French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier, highlighting the difficulty of accepting the absence and the pain associated with disbelief.

Critical Analysis

The opening lines establish the central comparison, describing the person's departure as "quiet as the dew" that drops from a flower. This simile creates a sense of peaceful and unobtrusive transition.

The second stanza further explores the departure, highlighting the contrast between the person's quiet exit and the expectation of their return. The phrase "Not like the dew did she return / At the accustomed hour !" emphasizes the unexpected and irreversible nature of their departure.

The comparison of the person's departure to a star dropping softly from the evening sky evokes a sense of ethereality and delicacy. The person's exit is described as being "Less skilful than Leverrier," a reference to Urbain Le Verrier, a prominent 19th-century astronomer known for predicting the existence of Neptune. This comparison emphasizes the human inability to predict or fully comprehend the emotional impact of such a loss.

Themes

  • Loss and Absence: The poem addresses the theme of loss, conveying the emotional impact of a dear person's departure and the subsequent absence they leave behind.
  • Mortality and Impermanence: The comparison of the person's departure to natural elements like dew and stars highlights the fleeting nature of human life and the inevitability of mortality.
  • Emotional Impact: The poem explores the emotional response to loss, from the quiet departure to the shock and disbelief of the aftermath.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Sorrow and Grief: The poem conveys the feelings of sorrow and grief associated with the departure of someone dear.
  • Disbelief: The speaker struggles with disbelief and the difficulty of accepting the person's absence, as indicated by the mention of Leverrier's sorer belief.

Literary Devices

  • Simile: The poem employs similes to compare the person's departure to the quietness of dew and stars falling.
  • Allusion: The reference to Urbain Le Verrier in the context of disbelief adds depth to the poem and highlights the complexities of human emotions.

Discussion Question

How does the use of quiet and gentle imagery, such as dew and stars, contribute to the emotional impact of "SHE WENT AS QUIET AS THE DEW"? How does the poem address the theme of disbelief in the face of loss?

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