You Love Me - You Are Sure, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"YOU LOVE ME — YOU ARE SURE" by Emily Dickinson explores the themes of trust, doubt, and emotional vulnerability within a relationship. Through its introspective and contemplative tone, the poem delves into the speaker's fear of being deceived or abandoned, highlighting the delicate balance between love and uncertainty. The poem captures the speaker's yearning for reassurance and the emotional challenges of navigating love's complexities.

"YOU LOVE ME — YOU ARE SURE"

You love me — you are sure —
I shall not fear mistake —
I shall not cheated wake —
Some grinning morn —
To find the Sunrise left —
And Orchards — unbereft —
And Dollie — gone!

I need not start — you're sure —
That night will never be —
When frightened — home to Thee I run —
To find the windows dark —
And no more Dollie — mark —
Quite none?

Be sure you're sure — you know —
I'll bear it better now —
If you'll just tell me so —
Than when — a little dull Balm grown —
Over this pain of mine —
You sting — again!

Summary

"YOU LOVE ME — YOU ARE SURE" reflects the speaker's yearning for reassurance and emotional security within a relationship. The poem addresses the speaker's fears of being abandoned or deceived by their loved one, and their longing for certainty in love. Through its exploration of doubt and vulnerability, the poem contemplates the complexity of trust and the challenges of navigating emotional uncertainty.

Critical Analysis

The poem begins with the affirmation "You love me — you are sure," indicating the speaker's belief in their partner's love. However, despite this assertion, the speaker's fears and doubts become evident as the poem unfolds.

The phrase "I shall not fear mistake" suggests the speaker's hope that their love will not be misplaced or misguided. The mention of being "cheated wake" alludes to the fear of waking up to a painful realization of deception or abandonment.

The imagery of "Some grinning morn" and the reference to "Sunrise left" and "Orchards — unbereft" evoke a sense of loss or absence, as if the speaker fears waking up to a world devoid of love and happiness.

The presence of "Dollie" in the poem serves as a symbolic representation of innocence or perhaps a beloved figure. The idea of Dollie being "gone" implies the loss of something cherished and pure.

The speaker expresses the desire for reassurance, stating "I need not start — you're sure" in response to their partner's declaration of love. This reveals the speaker's longing for emotional security and confidence in the constancy of their loved one's feelings.

The speaker acknowledges the fear of being left in darkness or isolation, as indicated by the imagery of finding "the windows dark — And no more Dollie — mark." This reflects the emotional void that abandonment or betrayal can create.

The poem's closing lines emphasize the speaker's plea for their partner's reassurance and honesty. The phrase "Be sure you're sure — you know" underscores the importance of unequivocal certainty in love.

The final stanza suggests that the speaker would rather bear the truth, even if it stings like a "little dull Balm," than endure the pain of uncertainty and doubt.

Themes

  • Trust and Doubt: The poem delves into the theme of trust within a relationship, juxtaposed with the speaker's underlying doubts and fears of being deceived or abandoned.
  • Vulnerability and Reassurance: The poem highlights the speaker's emotional vulnerability and their yearning for reassurance and emotional security from their loved one.
  • Uncertainty in Love: The poem explores the complexity of love, emphasizing the challenges of navigating the emotional uncertainties that come with it.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Fear: The poem reflects the speaker's fear of being deceived, abandoned, or left in emotional darkness.
  • Longing and Yearning: The speaker longs for reassurance, emotional security, and certainty in love.

Literary Devices

  • Imagery: The poem uses imagery to convey the emotional depth of the speaker's fears, doubts, and desires within the context of love and uncertainty.
  • Symbol ism: The mention of "Dollie" could be symbolic of innocence, purity, or a beloved figure that is cherished by the speaker.

Discussion Question

How does the poem capture the complexity of trust, doubt, and vulnerability within a relationship? How does the speaker's plea for reassurance reflect the challenges of navigating emotional uncertainties in love?

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