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Poetry Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s “Apparently with no Surprise”

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In “Apparently with no Surprise” Emily Dickinson writes about the cold, unfeeling attitude of nature. In the first stanza of the poem Dickinson writes of a “happy flower” that is beheaded by the frost “at its play in accidental power.” The choice of diction in the first stanza is especially effective in portraying the unfeeling randomness of nature. Using the word “happy” to describe the flower connotes a sense of innocence and life in the flower. The word “behead” is especially connotative of violence and brutality, and its use to describe the demise of the flower conveys the true brutality of nature. However, the frost that “beheads” the flower is not portrayed as a malevolent force. It destroys the flower accidentally in play. By having such a well-meaning force destroy beauty and life Dickinson demonstrates the randomness of nature and reminds the reader that nature has no real malevolence to it.

Dickinson’s choice of diction in the second stanza also portrays the indifference of nature and God. She uses the words “passes on,” which have a leisurely careless connotation, to describe the motions of an assassin. The sun “proceeds unmoved,” showing that nature has no concern for life or anything else. It simply goes on as it always has, regardless of tragedy. Dickinson also writes that the brutality and randomness of nature is approved by God. Her final line states that the God that bears witness to this uncaring nature is an “approving God.” God himself is indifferent to the suffering in nature. In fact, he designed nature to be that way and is glad to see it functioning as intended. The last line of the poem seems to state that God is just as impassionate and brutal as nature.

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