Adrienne Rich: On 508 ("I'm ceded--I've stopped being Theirs")

Now, this poem partakes of the imagery of being "twice-born" or, in Christian liturgy, "confirmed"--and if this poem had been written by Christina Rossetti I would be inclined to give more weight to a theological reading. But it was written by Emily Dickinson, who used the Christian metaphor far more than she let it use her. This is a poem of great pride--not pridefulness, but self-confirmation--and it is curious how little Dickinson's critics, perhaps misled by her diminutives, have recognized the will and pride in her poetry. It is a poem of movement from childhood to womanhood, of transcending the patriarchal condition of bearing her father's name and "crowing--on my Father's breast--." She is now a conscious Queen "Adequate—Erect/ With Will to choose, or to reject--."

From "Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson," reprinted in On Lies, Secrets, and Silences (W.W. Norton, 1979)


Title Adrienne Rich: On 508 ("I'm ceded--I've stopped being Theirs") Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Adrienne Rich Criticism Target Emily Dickinson
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 12 Sep 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication On Lies, Secrets, and Silences: Selected Prose 1966-1978
Printer Friendly PDF Version
Contexts No Data Tags No Data

Rate this Content

No Data
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Total votes: 0
Use the above slider to rate this item. You can only submit one rating per item, and your rating will be factored in to the item's popularity on our listings.

Share via Social Media