Emily Dickinson: "It dropped so low"

'At bottom of my Mind'

It dropped so low in my Regard
I heard it hit the Ground
And go to pieces on the Stones
At bottom of my Mind

Yet blamed the fate that flung it less
Than I denounced Myself,
For entertaining Plated Wares
Upon my Silver Shelf.

Glind's interpretation: An apparently-worthy coterie following some noble cause was joined by Emily who became an active enthusiast. However, it proved to be an utterly worthless circle and hit rock-bottom in her esteem. She recalls that mere chance had brought about her involvement but that she had embraced it totally thinking its ideals a match for her own which she metaphorically describes as pure silver. She eventually realised that its outward veneer hid a moral worthlessness just as silver-plated tableware hides the worthless base metal at its core. She dispassionately dismissed her involvement, without anger, disgust or self-blame. It just happened. She is wiser but there is no need to be sadder.

[1] Briefly, Glind said (despite at the time holding a contrary view, see [4] below): She dispassionately dismissed her involvement, without anger, disgust or self-blame.

[2] Ann said*: Rather than blame fate, she should have blamed herself for not recognising that this relationship was not of a lasting nature.

[3] June said*: She appears calm, but I think this is because she is in the first shock of finding out the truth. You can feel the dismay in her words.

What follows is Glind's second interpretation of Emily's reaction. He deliberately contradicts his first interpretation to make a point. That point hinges on these two important lines:

Yet blamed the fate that flung it less
Than I denounced Myself,

[4] Glind now says: Although she felt that mere chance had unfortunately brought about her involvement she, nevertheless, did censure herself for having believed in them so completely.

When we read these four points of view and consider them alongside those two lines of poetry we can see how easily one might be mislead as to what Emily really meant. What the correct interpretation is, though, is not Glind's point. Rather, he asks, if your interpretation of this poem is wrong should you censure yourself? Now consider Emily's far more difficult situation. When she finds out the truth should she censure herself? Does she, in fact, censure herself? Glind thinks she does but she ought not have done!

Note: *Ann and June responded on a poetry bulletin board.

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