Hope is the Thing with Feathers Summary by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is an American poet born in 1830 in Massachusetts. She has lived her life in solitude, and hardly had let any visitors or friends meet her. It was only after her death her poems were discovered, and were published. “Hope is the thing with feathers” is one of famous poems. This poem analysis would look upon the analysis of the poem and critical insights on the structure and style. Her poems have been letters to her father, and solitude scribbles about things that happen around her, and the things that mesmerizes her.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

In these four lines, Dickinson describes hope as a bird, which rests in the soul. This is called personification a technique which is often seen in her poetry. By calling it a bird, she wants to show how delicate our hopes are, and it stays deeper than our heart and mind. This personification could also be the result of her deep attachment with nature. It sings a song without words, which means it resides in our sub-conciousness. Our hopes are weaved without our efforts, sometimes, and are a chain of wishes that we want to come true in difficult times and doubts. But even if our faith and belief fail us during the difficult times, we never stop hoping, we keep faith in hope, and we hope without any effort, knowledge or any force being applied to it.

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And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –


These lines talk about the persistent and strong nature of our hopes that hopes are heard only when we are going through our toughest times. Hopes are more frequent and strong, but there are times, when the strong winds could just bash all our hopes and leave us shattered. By the storm, she means the difficult times in life, which puts us through a test of faith and strength, and when sometimes, things do not go according to our wish. These moments could kill all our hopes, and bring us to a questions and disappointments. However, these hopes have kept us warm and have pushed us forward in all the difficult times of our lives. These hopes help us to take our lives forward, and wait for the happy times that are followed by the sorrowed ones.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

In these lines, Dickinson describes that how in difficult times of her life; she has heard a voice of hope inside her, which kept her going through life. This hope keeps her looking forward to the end of the tunnel, where there is darkness, and she is surrounded by difficulties everywhere. She has had hope in her soul when she was going through ups and downs, and when she did not see a way out of her problems. But even in the pinnacle of troubles, and in the middle of the darkest hours, and extremes difficulties, she has heard a hope alive in her heart, which keeps her going through all. She says that this hope is a self-less, as it has never asked anything in return, inspite it keeps us stronger through difficulties, and has never demanded any favour, sacrifice in return. Hope is something that has been inevitable in her life, and does not require anything else in return, not even a small effort to keep hoping through all the difficult times in life.

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