Analysis of Why do I Love by Emily Dickinson

Context: Emily Dickinson wrote these poems in solitude, and never let any of them get published. A lot of letters to her father and sister-in-law were these poems, which were later published by them. This poem is one of her scribbles about the man she admired and loved. She never wrote any poem with a title, hence they were given numbers and the first line of all the poems were kept as the title.

In this poem the poet is expressing her love and admiration towards a man, the name which she has not mentioned, by giving beautiful metaphors from nature. Emily’s poems would definitely have a touch of nature in it. From the poem, it is clear that she admires this man, and his aura overpowers hers. There are some strong and beautiful metaphors like “lightning” and “sunrise” to describe his effect on her. She secretly loves this person, but is not sure if the person shares similar feelings for her. However, she knows that he is aware how enchanted she is by his charm. She says that there is no language or way they can talk to express their feelings, as words seem to be impotent for them here. She is mesmerised by him, and adores him. He is like the sunrise for him, which brings a new day and new hope for her.

Rhyming Scheme and Structure: The poem does not have any specific rhyming scheme followed here, hence I am going to analyse the rhyming scheme of first two stanza.

Stanza 1-

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“Why do I love” You, Sir?-a
Because—-b
The Wind does not require the Grass-c
To answer—Wherefore when He pass-c
She cannot keep Her place.-d

Stanza 2-

Because He knows—and-a
Do not You—-b
And We know not—-c
Enough for Us-d
The Wisdom it be so—-b

This way, the rhyming scheme of each stanza is different from the rest, which is one of the traits of Emily Dickinson’s poems. She never follows a definite rhyming scheme in her poems.

The poem has many words in title casing, which means that those words are important in the poem, and add weight to the context. For example,


Because He knows—and-a
Do not You—-b
And We know not—-c
Enough for Us-d
The Wisdom it be so

This is one of the techniques that the poet uses to emphasise on particular words, to draw attention of the reader towards it and to understand the importance of the words there. This helps the readers to understand the meaning of the poem and the poet’s expression better.

There are a lot of punctuations in this poem, which helps the poet to channelize her expressions, giving directions for the readers on where to pause, and where to put more emphasis. This helps the readers to understand the flow of the poem and expressions of the poet. For example:

The Sunrise—Sire—compellethMe—
Because He’s Sunrise—and I see—
Therefore—Then—
I love Thee—

All of the dashes in this stanza are the places where the poet wants the readers to pause. This gives a meaning to the poem, or else it is difficult to understand what the poet means to say in the poem.

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Theme: The themes in this poem are imagery, nature, and love. This poem is an articulation of Dickinson’s romantic feelings towards this anonymous man, who is swept her off feet, by his charms and aura. The poet is not sure if this man thinks in the same way for her, but she is sure that the man is aware of her feelings. He is like the lightning in the horizon which her hers look at; he is like the sunrise in the horizon which enchants her. She believes that there are no words that they could use to tell about their feelings to each other.

Deep Meaning: The deep meaning of this poem is that the poet is in love with this anonymous man, who has mesmerised her and enchanted her with his charms. She admires this man, but she is not sure if the man feels the same way towards her. However, she knows that he is aware of her feelings. She adores him, and her love for him is pure and deep.

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