Snow Flakes, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"Snow Flakes" by Emily Dickinson captures the whimsical and transformative nature of snowfall through a playful and imaginative lens. The poem explores the speaker's observations of snowflakes, transforming from a structured counting exercise to a joyful celebration of the snow's lively presence.

Snow Flakes

Snow flakes.
I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town,
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down.
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig,
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!

Summary

"Snow Flakes" begins with the speaker counting snowflakes as they dance and twirl. In their imagination, the snowflakes transform into dancers with leaping slippers that fill the town. The speaker then takes a pencil to note down their observations, but the snowflakes become even more lively and jolly. The counting task becomes joyful, and the speaker abandons the role of a prig (someone who is overly proper or strict). In a humorous twist, the poem concludes with the image of the speaker's toes, once serious and proper, now participating in a lively jig as part of the snowflake's festive atmosphere.

Critical Analysis

"Snow Flakes" is a whimsical and light-hearted exploration of the magical transformation that snowfall brings. The poem's simplicity and short lines mirror the delicate and fleeting nature of snowflakes. The gradual shift in tone from a structured counting exercise to a lively celebration mirrors the playful transformation of the snowflakes themselves.

The counting of snowflakes serves as a starting point, and the snowflakes evolve into dancers with "slippers leaped the town." This transformation adds a touch of fantasy to the poem, depicting snowflakes as joyful and vibrant beings.

The speaker's intention to "note the rebels down" adds a playful twist as the snowflakes defy expectations and exhibit lively, rebellious behavior. This shift in perspective suggests that the speaker's attempt to categorize and control the snowflakes through counting becomes an exercise in embracing their joyful, unpredictable nature.

The transition from the speaker being a "prig" to joining the festive atmosphere of the snowflakes' dance emphasizes the theme of letting go of rigidity and embracing spontaneity. The speaker's toes "marshalled for a jig" symbolize the speaker's own liberation from seriousness and restraint.

"Snow Flakes" celebrates the wonder of nature and the playful spirit of transformation. The poem encourages readers to embrace the magic and joy of the moment and let go of constraints.

Themes

  • Nature's Transformative Power: The poem highlights the magical transformation that nature, in this case snowflakes, can bring to the world, infusing it with vitality and joy.
  • Embracing Spontaneity: The shift from counting and noting to joining in the dance emphasizes the theme of releasing rigidity and embracing spontaneity and celebration.
  • Playfulness and Joy: The poem captures the playful and joyous atmosphere of the snowflakes' dance, reminding readers of the delight found in simple, whimsical moments.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Curiosity and Wonder: The counting of the snowflakes and the speaker's observations reflect a sense of curiosity and wonder at the transformations occurring in nature.
  • Transition from Restraint to Liberation: The speaker's transformation from a prig to a joyful participant in the snowflakes' dance reflects a shift from restraint to liberation and celebration.

Language

  • Imaginative Language: The poem employs imaginative language to depict the snowflakes as dancers with leaping slippers, conveying the magical transformation of nature.
  • Playful Tone: The poem's playful tone and light-hearted language contribute to the whimsical atmosphere, inviting readers to share in the joy of the moment.

Literary Devices

The poem employs several literary devices:

  • Imagery: The poem uses vivid imagery to depict the snowflakes as dancers and to capture the lively scene of their dance.
  • Personification: The snowflakes are personified as rebels with leaping slippers, adding a playful and animated quality to the scene.
  • Irony: The poem employs irony as the speaker's initial attempt to count and document the snowflakes gives way to their joyful and unpredictable behavior.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this poem in the comments section below and engage in a discussion about its themes, imagery, and emotional impact.

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