Hope Is the Thing With Feathers

While Emily Dickinson shared her poetry with her close friends and family, nearly all of her work remained unpublished during her life. After her death, her friends Mabel Loomis Todd and T.W. Higginson arranged her poetry into three volumes, each of which was divided into the same four thematic categories: Life, Love, Nature, and Time and Eternity. Published in the Life section of her second volume of verse, Emily Dickinson’s “Hope Is the Thing With Feathers” examines the abstract idea of hope through the metaphor of a free-spirited bird. While the poem departs from Dickinson’s usual themes and syntactical styles, “Hope” is still a startling example of the poet’s ability to craft poignant metaphors in compact lines. Dickinson juxtaposes her little bird of hope against a terrific storm to show the reader that even in the darkest of moments, hope is perched in the soul.

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