Emily Dickinson's She rose to His Requirement

             The title of this Emily Dickinson poem, "She rose to His Requirement",.

             is taken directly from the first line of the first stanza. The title immediately caught my eye, stirring up my emotions and forcing me to keep reading, if only to find out what "His Requirement” (1. 1) might be. I believe the first stanza focuses on what the female in the poem once had. .

             She Rose to His Requirement -dropt/The Playthings of Her Life/To take .

             the honorable Work/Of Woman and of Wife - (1. 1-4).

             The first line alone is packed with alliteration, with a heavy "r” sound. It is obvious in her choice of the words "rose” (1. 1) and "requirement” (1. 1), but less obvious in the word "dropt” (1. 1). Perhaps this is the reason she chooses to use the dash at the end of the line, rather than just carrying the word over into the next line. However, the dash also causes a pause in the reading, forcing the reader to stop and focus on the harshness of it. .

             She says she "dropt the Playthings of Her Life” (1. 1-2), which can be taken to mean a wide variety of things. I believe she is trying to convey some sort of loss of innocence in these words. Rather than to take the "playthings” (1. 2) literally (as in dolls or toys), I have the impression that the girl in the poem is leaving behind her innocence, her naivety, and most importantly, the last time in her life where she will truly be in control of her own actions and ideas. .

             Dickinson then seems to take on a sarcastic tone in the third and fourth lines, "To take the honorable Work/Of Woman and of Wife - (1. 3-4).” I don't think that Emily Dickinson truly believes that the work of a wife rising to her husband's requirement is "honorable (1. 3)”. However, in the time period that this was written in (late 1800's), that was the general belief among people. A woman's work was to live for and keep after a man.

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