Journal#7 Carol Lin
Page 1 No.59
Poetry (2)-I'm Nobody! Who Are You?
I'm Nobody! Who Are You? is a very oral, winsome, and meaningful poem. Instead of refined language, Emily Dickinson uses simple words, which are like conversation to get closer to we readers. Thus, it's easier for us to identify with what she wants to say. Through this "private" conversation, we feel an excitement of conspiracy and being secret. It's like what she says is only between she and us. Other "outsiders" can't understand. I think Emily is successful in building "atmosphere." She attracts our attention and affects us to stand by her side.
While reading this poem aloud, we fine that there are many dashes. Obviously, they are used to strengthen the effect of suspense and secrecy. Also, for example, the sentence "Are you-Nobody-too?" gives us an uncertain feeling. Because the speaker isn't sure if we are Nobody and she knows that it's hard to find her fellow friends, she is very careful to ask this question. But then she assumes we are! ("Then there's a pair of us!") I think it's brilliant to do so because even if we ourselves aren't sure about that, we will attend to be Nobody since she is anxious to invite us. We want to join her "game" to try to experience how it feels to be Nobody!
In the second stanza, the speaker starts to describe "outsiders"-Somebody. We feel that the pace of this stanza is slower for it has more dashes. Those dashes and the series "How dreary-íK" "How public-íK"show us the speaker-Nobody is really scornful of the way Somebody is. The last two lines are even more ironic. Somebody is compared with a Frog, which tells its name all the time and doesn't know it is a stupid and meaningless behavior. The funniest thing is the "admiring bog." If the behavior of Somebody is scornful, then the admiring bog is also blind and pathetic. This pair of Somebody and its supporter perfectly matches the rhyme of "frog" and "bog."(Fantastic!) I think Emily Dickinson tries to tell us even if you aren't Nobody, at least don't be the blind followers of Somebody.
Although "Nobody" sounds like a poor and not important role in society, I think Emily is proud of being a Nobody. In her definition, "Nobody" should be very special and unique for Nobody isn't like anybody. However, the price to be a Nobody is the endurance of loneliness and not being understandable. That's why when she finds a fellow friend, she shows great surprise and happiness. I quite admire her courage to be a Nobody but I wouldn't want to be a Nobody. I just want to be myself and live honestly. That means sometimes I may be a Nobody, and sometimes I become a Somebody. Life is full of possibility so it's better to have both "Nobody' and "Somebody" experience. "I'm Carol Lin! Who are you?"