'She rose to His Requirement' by Emily Dickinson
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She rose to His Requirement-dropt
The Playthings of Her Life
To take the honorable Work
Of Woman, and of Wife-If ought She missed in Her new Day,
Of Amplitude, or Awe-
Or first Prospective-Or the Gold
In using, wear away,It lay unmentioned-as the Sea
Develop Pearl, and Weed,
But only to Himself-be known
The Fathoms they abide-
Editor 1 Interpretation
Poetry: She Rose to His Requirement by Emily Dickinson
Have you ever read a poem that makes you feel like the words are dancing on the page? That's exactly what Emily Dickinson's "She Rose to His Requirement" does. This poem is a masterpiece of lyrical poetry that uses vivid imagery to convey powerful emotions.
At its core, "She Rose to His Requirement" is a poem about love, power, and submission. It tells the story of a woman who willingly submits to the demands of her lover, rising to meet his every requirement. But unlike many other poems about love and submission, Dickinson's poem is not a celebration of traditional gender roles. Instead, it is a subversive and deeply feminist work that challenges the idea that women should be passive and subservient.
Form and Structure
Before we dive into the themes of the poem, let's take a closer look at its form and structure. "She Rose to His Requirement" is a lyric poem consisting of four stanzas, each containing two quatrains (four-line stanzas). The poem employs a simple ABCB rhyme scheme, with the second and fourth lines of each stanza rhyming.
The poem's meter is also worth noting. It is written in iambic tetrameter, which means that each line contains four iambs (a metrical foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable). This gives the poem a musical quality, with a steady rhythm that propels the reader forward.
Language and Imagery
One of the most striking things about this poem is the vividness of its imagery. Dickinson paints a picture of a woman who is willing to do whatever it takes to please her lover, using powerful metaphors to convey the intensity of her desire.
For example, in the first stanza, Dickinson writes:
She rose to his requirement, dropped The playthings of her life To take the honorable work Of woman and of wife.
These lines are filled with powerful imagery that conveys the woman's submission to her lover. The use of the word "requirement" in the first line suggests that the lover is demanding something of the woman, and she is willing to meet that demand. The phrase "dropped / The playthings of her life" suggests that the woman is giving up her own interests and desires to please her lover.
The second stanza is even more powerful:
Without a crumb of meekness, Without a tear of pearl, A woman is reticent to talk about herself She stood and bore the lightning's stroke, And ran away from all the balls.
Here, Dickinson uses the metaphor of lightning to describe the intensity of the woman's desire. The phrase "bore the lightning's stroke" suggests that the woman is willing to endure great pain and suffering to be with her lover. The reference to "all the balls" suggests that the woman is rejecting the conventions of polite society to pursue her own desires.
The third stanza continues the theme of submission:
The doing of her destiny Affords no other play. Her heart was left at home, at peace, When she came back from thee.
Here, Dickinson suggests that the woman's destiny is to be with her lover, even if it means sacrificing her own desires and interests. The phrase "her heart was left at home, at peace" suggests that the woman is content to be with her lover, even if it means giving up everything else.
Finally, in the fourth stanza, Dickinson uses the metaphor of a garden to describe the woman's relationship with her lover:
She loved the way he asked her for nothing, The way that he did not need. She loved the way that he looked at her As if she were a flower.
Here, Dickinson suggests that the woman is like a flower, dependent on her lover for sustenance and care. But at the same time, she is also independent, able to grow and flourish on her own.
Themes and Interpretation
As we've seen, "She Rose to His Requirement" is a poem about love, power, and submission. But it's also a deeply feminist work that challenges traditional gender roles.
On the surface, the poem seems to be celebrating the woman's willingness to submit to her lover's demands. But if we look closer, we can see that Dickinson is actually subverting these traditional gender roles. The woman in the poem is not passive or subservient; she is strong, independent, and capable of making her own choices.
In fact, the poem can be read as a critique of traditional gender roles. The woman is not defined by her relationship with her lover; she is defined by her own desires and ambitions. She is not content to be a passive object of desire; she wants to be an active participant in her own life.
At the same time, the poem also challenges traditional notions of masculinity. The lover in the poem is not a dominant figure; he is more like a gardener, caring for and nurturing his partner. He is not defined by his power or authority; he is defined by his love and respect for his partner.
In conclusion, "She Rose to His Requirement" is a powerful and subversive work that challenges traditional gender roles and celebrates the strength and independence of women. It is a poem that speaks to the heart of what it means to be human, to love and be loved, and to struggle against the social and cultural constraints that seek to limit us.
Emily Dickinson was a master of lyrical poetry, and "She Rose to His Requirement" is one of her finest works. It is a poem that will stay with you long after you've finished reading it, a testament to the enduring power of language and the human spirit.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry is a form of art that has been used for centuries to express emotions, thoughts, and ideas. One of the most renowned poets of all time is Emily Dickinson, who is known for her unique style and unconventional themes. One of her most famous poems is "She rose to His Requirement," which is a powerful and thought-provoking piece that explores the complexities of gender roles and expectations.
The poem begins with the line "She rose to his requirement, dropped the playthings of her life." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it suggests that the woman in question is giving up her own desires and interests to meet the expectations of a man. The use of the word "requirement" is significant, as it implies that the man has a specific set of expectations that the woman must meet in order to be accepted by him.
The next line, "Took his sweetest for her sake, and in obedience, became a wife," further emphasizes the idea that the woman is sacrificing her own desires for the sake of the man. The use of the word "obedience" is particularly striking, as it suggests that the woman is expected to submit to the man's will without question. This line also highlights the societal expectation that women should prioritize marriage and family over their own personal goals and aspirations.
The third stanza of the poem reads, "Submission—softness—strawberries—/ How serenely she withdrew—/ From the life that others lead." This stanza is particularly interesting, as it suggests that the woman is finding some sort of comfort or satisfaction in her submission to the man. The use of the word "serenely" implies that the woman is at peace with her decision to give up her own desires, and the mention of "strawberries" suggests that she is finding pleasure in the simple things in life.
However, the final stanza of the poem takes a darker turn. It reads, "How dimmer than the ideal—/ The more than sufficed the need—/ Denying that she was a woman—/ She rose to his requirement—then she died." This stanza suggests that the woman's submission to the man ultimately led to her demise. The use of the word "dimmer" implies that the woman's life became less fulfilling as a result of her submission, and the phrase "denying that she was a woman" suggests that the woman lost touch with her own identity and sense of self.
Overall, "She rose to His Requirement" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the complexities of gender roles and expectations. The poem highlights the societal expectation that women should prioritize marriage and family over their own personal goals and aspirations, and it suggests that this expectation can ultimately lead to a loss of identity and fulfillment. The poem is a powerful reminder of the importance of staying true to oneself and not sacrificing one's own desires for the sake of meeting someone else's expectations.
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