Homework help continues apace, as the search strings grow increasingly, and suspiciously, specific. IP 209.187.112.116 wants to know “what does no man moved me mean in Emily Dickinson’s poem I started early I walked my dog”? He further inquires “what does frigates in the upper floor mean in Emily Dickinson’s poem I started early I walked my dog”?

Well, 209.187.112.116, the poem begins, “I started early, took my dog,” not “I walked my dog.” You might want to reread it a couple times before resorting to Yahoo. As for “frigates,” consult the dictionary: they’re ships. The “upper floor” is the sea’s surface; you will note that mermaids are in “the basement.” You’ve heard of rats deserting sinking ships? Rats (and mice) board them the same way, on ropes. That’s what “hempen hands” are.

“No man moved me” is more difficult. The sea in this poem represents, most generally, destructive power. It is death, and has elements of male sexuality as well: the tide goes “past my bodice” and “made as he would eat me up.” She is saying that she was untouched by, and even unaware of, this power until she experienced it; and having done so, she flees to the safety of “the solid town.” The sea withdraws, like a proper gentleman, but its latent power remains, and we shall all confront it eventually.

I trust you can write your term paper now, and next time you have questions, just ask, OK?

Aaron Haspel | Posted June 8, 2003 @ 12:49 PM | Poetry

1 Response to “Homework Help”

  1. 1 1. Casey

    Man, where were you when I was taking Dickinson? I always had some sort of mental block working with her.


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