Emily Dickinson’s poem, “After Great Pain,” has brilliantly recreated the kind of suffering we all undergo after something terrible and excruciating has happened in our lives. The specific cause of this pain within this poem doesn’t matter; whatever the cause may have been, the response is still the same and the response is what matters most in this poem. Every person who has had something terrible happen to them will always respond differently to the event. The theme to this poem seems to be that the existence and the power of pain and how pain can overwhelm an individual to the point of unfeeling.
In the first stanza of the poem, it is explained that after some time of great pain or sorrow has passed, a ...view middle of the document...
In the second stanza of the poem, it is discusses on how an individual attempts to function when they are overwhelmed by their pain. The individual merely does what is necessary in order to maintain the aspect of their life even though inside, they feel very little, as if they were dead themselves. An example used is “a Quartz contentment, like a stone” (line 8) and this is implied to what they are experiencing has numbed them inside. This could also be used to symbolize death because many tombs are made of stone and tombs are used as a formal form of a grave.
The final stanza is related to how an individual will feel after they have passed the period of feeling numbness and pain. They will remember that period as a time of necessity and dread, in order to move forward in life. Dickinson called it the “Hour of Lead” (line 9), because the name showed us on how the individual had dragged themselves through this time without feeling, much like a non-living item. Only after time will the person remember this experience and will finally be able to let go of this pain and become part of the living again.
In conclusion, this poem seemed to be very accurate on how individuals react to the news of a terrible event but I think it got to the point of exaggeration. Of course, any individual will experience some type of uncaring after a traumatic event has happened, such as the death of a loved one. In the poem, Dickinson had suggested that the person is barely functioning after the event. I have personally been through a few traumatic experiences but I have never truly became numb and I have become stronger because of them.