The Murmur of a Bee, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"THE MURMUR OF A BEE" by Emily Dickinson explores the captivating and transformative power of nature and the divine. The poem utilizes vivid imagery and emotional intensity to convey the speaker's experience of enchantment and spiritual revelation through ordinary natural occurrences. Through its portrayal of the mysteries of existence and the divine presence, the poem contemplates the profound impact of the natural world on human consciousness.

"THE MURMUR OF A BEE"

The Murmur of a Bee
A Witchcraft — yieldeth me —
If any ask me why —
'Twere easier to die —
Than tell —
The Red upon the Hill
Taketh away my will —
If anybody sneer —
Take care — for God is here —
That's all.
The Breaking of the Day
Addeth to my Degree —
If any ask me how —
Artist — who drew me so —
Must tell!

Summary

"THE MURMUR OF A BEE" explores the enchanting and transformative influence of nature on the speaker's consciousness. The poem delves into the mysterious and spiritual qualities of the natural world, suggesting that nature possesses the power to reveal divine truths and inspire profound experiences. The poem portrays the bewitching impact of ordinary natural phenomena on the speaker's perception of existence.

Critical Analysis

The poem opens with the speaker's assertion that the "Murmur of a Bee" holds a kind of enchantment or "Witchcraft" that affects them deeply. This line sets the tone for the poem, emphasizing the transformative and magical qualities of nature.

The speaker acknowledges that explaining the reason for this enchantment is challenging, using the phrase "'Twere easier to die" to convey the ineffability of the experience. This suggests that the impact of the bee's murmur is so profound that it defies simple explanation.

The imagery of the "Red upon the Hill" further illustrates the captivating power of nature. The line "Taketh away my will" implies a surrender to the natural world's influence, suggesting that the speaker's self-control is overcome by the beauty and presence of nature.

The admonition "Take care — for God is here" conveys the idea that the divine is present in nature and should be respected and revered. This suggests a sense of spiritual revelation through the encounter with the natural world.

The poem continues to explore the spiritual impact of nature with the line "The Breaking of the Day / Addeth to my Degree." The sunrise is depicted as intensifying the speaker's spiritual connection and understanding, implying that the natural world reveals greater truths and insights as it unfolds.

The concluding lines emphasize the role of the divine as the ultimate creator and artist behind the natural world. The mention of the "Artist — who drew me so" suggests that the natural world's beauty and enchantment are reflections of the divine creator's handiwork.

Themes

  • Nature's Enchantment: The poem explores the enchanting and transformative power of nature, portraying how ordinary natural phenomena can have a profound impact on human perception and consciousness.
  • Divine Presence: The poem suggests that the divine is present in the natural world and can be revealed through encounters with nature. The presence of God is associated with moments of enchantment and spiritual revelation.
  • Human Experience and Revelation: The poem reflects on how natural experiences can lead to personal revelations and insights, allowing individuals to connect with deeper truths and mysteries of existence.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Enchantment: The poem conveys a sense of enchantment and awe in the face of nature's beauty and mystery, as well as a deep emotional and spiritual impact on the speaker.
  • Spiritual Revelation: The speaker experiences moments of spiritual revelation through encounters with nature, realizing that the natural world holds divine truths and insights.

Literary Devices

  • Imagery: The poem employs vivid imagery to convey the enchanting qualities of the natural world and the speaker's emotional and spiritual responses to it.
  • Metaphor: The comparison of the bee's murmur to "Witchcraft" serves as a metaphor for the transformative and magical nature of the speaker's experience.

Discussion Question

How does the poem convey the idea that encounters with the natural world can lead to spiritual revelation and profound insights? How does the portrayal of nature's enchantment and the divine presence contribute to the overall message of the poem?

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