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I am Wife : I have finished that Questions 2,5,10 & 15

 

I am Wife : I have finished that Questions and Answers 2,5,10 & 15

 

Marks 10/15{I am Wife : I have finished that}

  1. Q. Discuss the central theme of the poem ‘I’m wife I’ve finished that.

In a society that values marriage highly and spinsterhood not at all, the creative spinster finds outlets in work, art, or else just thumbs her nose at society. Sometimes she is profoundly lonely. Emily Dickinson took joy in her poetry, her baking, her nephews and family, her garden and in love. In this poem she imagines what it would feel like to put girlhood and spinsterhood behind. By the time this poem was written she would certainly have been considered a spinster.

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The frustration she has with her current status comes through loud and clear when she calls it “That other state.” In comparison, to be a “wife” is to be a “Czar” and a “Woman.”” The change is put in cosmic terms: it’s an “Eclipse.” As a wife she is able to view life from the sunny side and look back on the Girl who on the far side sees only a dark disk hiding the sun. But it is a “soft” eclipse as if in one step a girl goes from the dark to the light. The transformation seen from the bright, wife side she likens to life after death. The “folks in Heaven” look back on earthly people and see them as “odd,” not fully aware. That’s how the “Girl’s life looks” to a married woman.

But not only odd: the poet says “It’s safer” to be a wife. The 19th-century girl and spinster must worry about protection, income, and their place in society. Women didn’t yet have the vote, couldn’t hold many jobs except the low paying ones. Think of what it might mean in a fundamentalist country today to be a woman: you are considered inferior to a man, you are considered easy prey by the unscrupulous. But we needn’t go that far.

Dickinson wouldn’t have been in real danger as she had a strong and caring father and brother. She came from an educated and affluent family. And in actuality, Massachusetts had more unmarried women than other states, many of whom announced their rejection of marriage on principal or because they wanted the freedom. But several of Dickinson’s other poems talk about being adrift or lost, and many talk about loneliness and pain. Perhaps she meant it would be safer to have an anchor and a soul mate.

The state of marriage she consequently calls “comfort” while the other is “pain.” But then in a flippant ending, as if to quash any challenges and questions from her own mind as well as from others – she says, “I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!” ‘Nuff said, in other words. The ending ties in nicely with the first line where she says “I’ve finished that.” The dreamy and thoughtful second stanza contrasts with the abrupt conviction of the first and last. The lines are longer, too. 

2. What is the meaning of the title ‘I’m ‘wife’: I’ve finished that? Discuss briefly.  Significance of the Title.

 

Emily Dickinson’s poems do not follow any convention nor do they have any title. The first line of the poem is always used as the title. The poems don’t use the conventional punctuation marks. It uses only dashes in place of it. She also tends to capitalize the interior words. The poems have a skillful use of imagery besides the typical feminist attitude. The poem ‘I’m “wife”: I’ve finished that is also a similar piece of work from Dickinson.

Poem 225 (I’m “wife” – I’ve finished that -) partakes in the second step of “unnaming and renaming.” Nonetheless, Dickinson uses a double voice that complicates and separates this poem from the previous one in the collection. This poem has a distinct tone that is both serious and sarcastic with its focus on titles. I’m “wife” – I’ve finished that – That other state – I’m Czar – I’m “Woman” now – It’s safer so – How odd the Girl’s life looks Behind this soft Eclipse – I think that Earth feels so To folks in Heaven – now – This being comfort – then That other kind – was pain – But Why compare? I’m “Wife”! Stop there!

Through marriage, the speaker of this poem attains three titles: “Wife,” “Czar,” and “Woman.” The two latter titles can only be claimed once that of “Wife” is. In between these titles the speaker says, “I’ve finished that – / That other state -” without elaborating on what that “state” refers to, making the phrase become a method of avoidance. The second stanza reveals that the speaker is evading a fourth title that she has tossed aside once she married: “Girl.” She conveys that thinking of “the Girl’s life” brings her pain, but never explains why. In fact, the entirety of the poem is enveloped with vagueness- an avoidance of the speaker’s former title and of understanding her new title “Wife.”

The speaker does not do this with the intent of hiding her pains from her readers. Rather, her descriptions remain vague so her past pains cannot ail her. She hides “Behind [the]. . . soft Eclipse” of marriage to separate herself from her previous girlhood and remain focused on her wifehood. Yet, the very fact that she must exclaim “I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!” suggests that the “soft Eclipse” cannot fully separate her from her past self. Her thoughts slip into recollection and she must mentally scold herself.

Her exclamation at the end of the poem also makes the title “Wife” appear flawless, equated to “Heaven” and “comfort.” However, the speaker never explains this view with a definition of her title. She conveys that she is simply glad to have it, whether she understands what it entails or not, in the last two stanzas: “But Why compare? / I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!” The only concept she grasps is that, with the title “Wife,” she can finally transition from girlhood to womanhood and gain respectability like the title “Czar.” The speaker understands that in society a woman could only be made out of a girl through marriage. She does not question this concept, but readily accepts it. And even though she accepts what is expected of her, she does not gain the title “Wife.” She may have by name, but until she fully understands the title will she fully attain it.

Though this poem is only the persona of a wife, Dickinson’s point of view slips in when she uses quotation marks, double-voicing the words “Wife” and “Woman” and rendering them sarcastic. In other words, the quotation marks are Dickinson’s way of ridiculing women who become wives before understanding and questioning the role. Harris refers to Dobson when mentioning the speaker “. . . is unable to imagine anything about her new identity beyond the word that is its title . . .”.

The lack of imagination and vagueness in the poem almost suggests that when women marry according to the concept of True Womanhood, they accept the position with a blind-fold. Sabik argues that by using the persona of a wife in this particular poem, Dickinson “is … a mimic- indulging in a biting parody of those empty-headed women who find power and solace in the mere title of ‘wife””. In satirizing these sorts of women, Dickinson recognizes a separation between herself and them. Henceforth, the title is appropriately significant.

3. Comment on the structure of the poem ‘I’m “wife”: I’ve finished that.

‘I’m “wife” – I’ve finished that’ by Emily Dickinson is a three-stanza poem that is separated into sets of four lines, known as quatrains. These lines do not follow a specific rhyme scheme but are fairly similar when it comes to the meter. The majority of the lines contain six syllables, conforming them to a pattern of iambic trimeter. The remaining few that are shorter are written in iambic dimeter, meaning that they have two sets of two syllables per line. A good example is line four of the first stanza.

In every stanza, there are a couple of contradictions such as Czar and Woman, Earth and Heaven, Comfort and Pain. Those show contradictions in terms of words since the deconstruction approach is about trying to bring up the contradictions in the text. Besides that, finding the intrinsic elements such as denotation and connotation is also needed.

In the first stanza, Emily shows that if she becomes a wife, she will finish all of what she had done. The labels and titles given to women (“Wife”) and to contrast it to what a woman can never be and a man can (“Czar”). The denotation of eclipse in the second stanza is an obscuring of the light from one celestial body but the connotation is about wife and marriage. The interpretation is Emily wants to show the inequality of man and woman is clearly shown as well by the change the woman goes through from childhood: “girl” to womanhood: “Wife” characterized by an “Eclipse” in the second stanza.

In the first 3 lines Dickinson seems to present a pro-marriage opinion. But in the last line of stanza 1, she writes “It’s safer so,” here is where the ironic message is put forward. In the mid nineteenth century, it was a norm/expected for a girl to get married, have a family, have children and have a typical lifestyle. So in the last line she mocks the society for pressurizing girls to get married.

In the second stanza, she compares the single-married issue to the earthheaven scenario. Being single is represented by the ‘harsh’ life and realities of the earth and a married woman’s life is compared to being in ‘Heaven.’ She sees things as differently as the dead see life on earth. The interpretation perhaps, she is pointing out that the natural progression of a girl’s life from willfulness to marriage in “the soft eclipse”, almost like she sees marriage as a shelter from pain.

In the other statement from Grace in the United States, Emily Dickinson is not finding security with becoming a woman, but insecurities. Certainly, ‘wife’ was really the only occupation for a woman out of girlhood, and there is definitely a hint of bitterness and regret, but perhaps the bitterness is well deserved. And most definitely, I think she did not want to be a wife and I guess she thought to preserve some sense of an identity she had to become a recluse, but there is a sense of a lack of identity

when not a wife and not a girl. It is a shame she was not more of an outgoing person challenging social ideals.

The final stanza describes Emily’s feelings in marriage. She said that the marriage at the other side will bring comfort as she is pointing out that the natural progression of a girl’s life from willfulness to marriage in “the soft eclipse”, almost like she sees marriage as a shelter from pain, but pain is the other kind. This stanza begins with the lines “This being comfort-then/ That other kind was pain,” these two lines transmit a mixed signal suggesting that married life is finally painless or the complete opposite of it.

Basically, Emily is not satisfied with the marriage life; and that’s why she keeps comparing herself as she says “why compare?” from the beginning to the end of the poem, and the last line “I’m “Wife”! Stop there!” almost sounds like a man’s voice ordering her. However, she ends in a cynical tone: With independence comes pain, so it is natural for women to stop at “Wife.”

She ends the poem with a positive note towards marriage by saying that there is no need to compare both the scenarios since she is now a ‘Wife.’ Here again, she uses the word ‘Wife’ to represent her status. That to me indicates that she is trying to mock the sexist society of the middle nineteenth century

Dickinson makes use of several literary devices in ‘I’m “wife” – I’ve finished that. These include but are not limited to alliteration, enjambment, and allusion. The latter, allusion, is connected to Emily Dickinson’s personal life, the “other state” that she refers to in the first stanza, and the larger social world she dealt with during her lifetime. The “other state” that Dickinson is creatively leaving in this poem is that of spinsterhood. She was herself considered at the time this poem was written a spinster. Therefore it is very easy to consider Dickinson as the speaker, exploring what the differences are in privilege and happiness between being on one’s own or being a “wife”.

Enjambment is a very common technique in poetry. It occurs when a line is cut off before its natural stopping point. Enjambment forces a reader down to the next line, and the next, quickly. One has to move forward in order to comfortably resolve a phrase or sentence. For example, the transition between lines three and four of the second stanza as well as one and two of the third stanza.

Another important technique is alliteration. It occurs when words are used in succession, or at least appear close together, and begin with the same sound. For example, “life looks” in line of the second stanza and “feels” and “folks” in lines three and four of the second stanza.

The rhyme scheme is AABBCCDDEEFF – all of them slant rhymes: that/state; now/so; looks/Eclipse; so/now; then/pain; compare/Stop there. One nice touch is the repeated “that” in the first and second lines. It gives an almost stuttering effect: that…that…other state. The effect underscores the belittlement of spinsterhood. Not long ago we still called unmarried women ‘old maids’ – so we can’t feel too smug.

 

4.[Q. How does the speaker distinguish between the wifehood and girlhood in her poem ‘I’m wife: I’ve finished that’? Explain elaborately. Or, Q. Compare and contrast the life of a woman from a girl with reference to this poem.]

Emily Dickinson’s “I’m ‘wife’ – I’ve finished that” seeks to distinguish and define the two physical states of girlhood and wifehood experienced by its female speaker. Each of the two physical states is defined by experiences and sensations felt in the register of bodily senses. Dickinson’s poems, “Rearrange a ‘Wife’s’ Affection,” “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun,” and “He put the Belt around my life -,” among others, pose alternate versions of the transformation described in “I’m ‘wife.”” Each poem examines a different combination of the concepts explored in this group of poems, including the physical transformation from “girl” to “wife,” the meaning of the title “wife” for both the speaker and her community, the positive and negative experiences of a person after the transformation, and the similarities between the states of marriage and death.

“I’m ‘wife”” is told from the perspective of a created “wife” persona who reflects on her previous experience as a “girl” and her current state of “wife”-though she “wife” has difficulty recalling her experiences prior to becoming a wife. When the attempts to title the “Girlstate” in the initial lines of the poem, she stutters: “I’ve finished that/ That other state.” The repetition of the word “that” indicates that the “wife” struggles to find a word that accurately describes her previous physical state. The anadiplosis of “that” serves to emphasize the speaker’s waning memory of her former state of being. The speaker is far more certain in her pronouncements that she is “wife,” “Czar,” and “Woman” than she is about “that-/That other state -” The speaker’s failure to assign a name to “that other state” until the second. stanza reflects her uncertainty about her personal status. This uncertainty is mirrored in the final lines of the stanza in which the “wife” questions her decision to compare these two states at all: “But why compare? / I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!”

The speaker’s tone is remarkably distant; she limits her expression to pithy phrases that are disjointed and syntactically incomplete. For example, the speaker describes wifehood (“it”) as “safer so -.” In this instance, “wife” is using “so” as a conjunction, meaning to compare wifehood and girlhood, but lacking a direct object to convey girlhood. The detached tone and incomplete syntax render “wife” emotionally constrained, incapable of fully expressing what she is attempting to express. For ten lines, the speaker transcends the “soft Eclipse” by discussing her transformation, but a remarkable shift occurs when she feels herself approaching ideas she would rather not consider in the final two lines of the poem. She then terminates the poem by exclaiming “But why compare? / I’m “Wife”! Stop there!”

Not only has “wife” “arrive[d]” at the end of “That other state,” she has also “accomplish[ed]” all she needs to have successfully completed girlhood, a state of

existence that can be terminated by ruptures in identity, such as at the time of marriage. The physical transformation from girl to wife is eternal. When Dickinson’s speakers become wedded, they also engage in sexual intercourse and their bodies are altered; like their hymens, their identities are irreversibly ruptured. Once a speaker has crossed the threshold of “wife,” she cannot turn around and reassume her identity as a “girl,” which is reflected in the parallel Dickinson draws between the shift from girlhood to wifehood and the shift from living to the dead. This analogy is outlined in the second stanza when the “wife” explains “How odd the Girl’s life looks / Behind this soft Eclipse” and she proposes that the “Earth feels so / To folks in Heaven – now -.” The speaker creates this analogy with the purpose of underscoring that her experience is like “Heaven.” The speaker’s comparison of these two states emphasizes that the “wife” considers herself to have encountered a transformation that she imagines is as extreme as dying.

Another aspect of wifehood the speaker imagines as extreme are the duties that wife should perform in order to be considered a legitimate wife. The “wife” in Dickinson’s poems “Rearrange a ‘Wife’s’ Affection,” “He put the Belt around my Life,” and “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun” address these duties quite explicitly, while the speaker of “I’m ‘wife”” gestures to this aspect in her descriptions of herself. “I’m ‘wife”” does not use the term “duties” to describe these essential aspects of the “Wife-state,” but indicates her wifely duties by providing three alternate nouns that reference her condition: “wife,” “Czar,” and “Woman.” “Wife” and “Woman” are emphasized because they appear in quotation marks; “Czar” is not.

“Wife” and “Woman” are terms the speaker feels can be used in place of her name, but she determines her identification with “Czar” to be more metaphorical. The role of a Czar is exceptionally prescribed: a Czar is an “Eastern” monarch who reigns supreme-imperially. The speaker seeks to convey that she sees herself as exceptionally esteemed and powerful. Considering that this speaker constructs her description by creating a dichotomy between girlhood and wifehood, she means to also convey that her experience of girlhood was distinguished by a personal perception of powerlessness.

Even more so than a “Czar,” the speaker sees herself primarily as a “wife” and a “Woman.” The etymology of the English word “woman” (from the Old English woman, or wifmon, which mean “woman-man” and “wife of man”) is dependent on the English word “man”-a relationship with a male “other” (OED, “woman” n.). In titling the speaker a “Woman,” Dickinson subtly reveals the rupture in sovereignty between the words “wife” and “czar,” as one is syntactically independent, while the other is syntactically dependent and socially subordinated to another. Even more so than “Woman,” a “wife” is defined by her relationship to a male husband. For the speaker, one’s ability to identify with wifehood is determined by one’s dependence on a male figure.

In “I’m ‘wife’ – I’ve finished that – “the speaker has undergone the transformation

from girl to wife and even describes the sensation of being alienated from girlhood because the transformation from girl to wife has changed everything about her.

5.  State the views of the speaker on marriage with reference to the poem ‘I’m wife: I’ve finished that’.

In Dickinson’s poem, I’m wife, I’ve finished that, she presents a very intricate approach towards marriage. Although we know that Emily had not married yet, she can show how the situation of both of them is. In the first stanza, Emily shows that if she becomes a wife, she will finish all of what she had done. The labels and titles given to women (Wife) and to contrast it to what a woman can never be and a man can ( Czar) demonstrates this with the sharp puncturing dashes, capital letters and exclamation marks at the end.

The inequality of man and woman is clearly shown as well by the change the woman goes through from childhood : girl to womanhood: Wife characterized by an Eclipse in the second stanza. It is guessed, based on her, it is natural for women to stop at wife because as a wife the woman must go along with her husband. It is not as free as they are a woman that can do everything without interference from others. A woman can become a Czar, but a wife just only becomes a wife with the husband as her adoration. And often we see the intimidated wife by her own husband in their household. Her life will be dominated by her own husband. Emily did not marry, but what perhaps is most poignant and really more the issue is not her ignorance and bitterness towards the married state but, after girlhood there is only marriage, and since she is not married, then what is she? It is about identity.

The line “It’s safer” shows that she believed that to have a label, to be typical, normal etc. is to be safer and to be more secure of her own identity. She is in flux having never been married and never having a domineering male force in her life, except from her constant issue with her religion / faith, of course dominated by men then.

Dickinson presents a very intricate approach towards marriage in the poem I’m ‘wife’ – I’ve finished that. In the first stanza she writes I’m ‘wife’ – I’ve finished that – / ….. / It’s safer so – (1-4). what she means here is that now since I am married, I have become a complete woman. The message that she is trying to convey is that every girl ought to get married in order for her to become a complete woman. In the first 3 lines Dickinson seems to present a pro-marriage opinion. But in the last line of stanza 1, she writes It’s safer so, here is where the ironic message is put forward. In the mid nineteenth century, it was a norm expected for a girl to get married, have a family, have children and have a typical lifestyle. So in the last line she mocks the society for pressurizing girls to get married.

In the second stanza, Emily called the marriage an eclipse of the woman,

though a soft one because of her unsatisfied but culturally obligated feeling on marriage. The inequality of man and woman is clearly shown as well by the change the woman goes through from childhood: girl to womanhood: Wife characterized by an Eclipse. Dickinson is playing feminist. She is saying it is better to be Woman rather than Wife. Once you make this realization, you will see things as differently as the dead see life on earth. But maybe, she is pointing out that the natural progression of a girl’s life from willfulness to marriage in the soft eclipse, almost like she sees marriage as a shelter from pain. In this stanza she compares the single-married issue to the earth-heaven scenario. Being single is represented by the harsh life and realities of the earth and a married woman’s life is compared to being in Heaven.

In the other statement from Grace in the United States, Dickinson is not finding security with becoming a woman, but insecurities. She does not want to be a wife or a woman and puts these words in quotes because they seem foreign when compared to her. This relates to her family life also because her father did not expect a woman to become anything and Emily rejected her mother’s identity insisting in her poems that she is an orphan upon herself. In this poem she fantasizes that she did enter in some kind of marriage, but she seems to almost be mocking it. The same, insecure status applied also to widows. They too throughout history have been of unstable status.

Certainly, wife was really the only occupation for a woman out of girlhood, and there is definitely a hint of bitterness and regret, but perhaps the bitterness is well deserved. She has no social identity but that of a spinster and no woman would willingly adopt that title that was often the butt of pity or scorn. And most definitely, she did not want to be a wife but thought to preserve some sense of an identity she had to become a recluse, but there is a sense of a lack of identity when not a wife and not a girl. It is a shame she was not more of an outgoing person challenging social ideals. The final stanza describes Emily’s feelings in marriage. She said that the marriage at the other side will be comforting as she is pointing out that the natural progression of a girl’s life from willfulness to marriage in the soft eclipse, almost like she sees marriage as a shelter from pain, but pain is the other kind.

This being comfort-then / That other kind was pain – (8-9). These two lines transmit a mixed signal suggesting that married life is finally painless or the complete opposite of it. That pain comes from the reality of the household. How the couple, man and woman, will unite their want, their habit and their purpose in a nation. And when they cannot unite that, there will be a problem that threats their household. Occasionally, the one will dominate the other. In this case, we are always seeing that the woman is the oppressed side.

Basically, Emily is not satisfied with the marriage life; and that’s why she keeps comparing herself as she says why compare? from the beginning to the end of the poem, and the last line I’m Wife! Stop there! almost sounds like a man’s voice ordering her. However, she ends in a cynical tone: With independence comes pain,

so it is natural for women to stop at Wife. She ends the poem with a positive note towards marriage by saying that there is no need to compare both the scenarios since she is now a Wife. Here again, she uses the word Wife to represent her status. It indicates that she is trying to mock the sexist society of the middle nineteenth century.

In this poem Dickinson wants to present a very intricate approach towards marriage. At the first 3 lines, she shows her pro marriage opinion, but in the last she writes ironic messages that mocks the society norm in mid nineteenth for pressurizing girls to get married. She wants to show that the marriage for the girls is like soft eclipse. Marriage will give the safer life for the girls that are demanded to them and finally painless, or the complete opposite of it that will cause a pain for them. I think this poem is presented to mock the sexist society of the middle nineteenth century for pressurizing girls to get married, have a family, have children and have a typical lifestyle.

6 . Q. Comment on the style of writing of Emily Dickinson with reference to this poem.

The poem, ‘I ‘m “Wife”- I’ve finished that’, is written from a female perspective about a woman’s freedom before and after marriage. The female voice in the poem is present however the identity of the woman is ‘made ultimately invisible’. This is because nineteenth century female writers had to make themselves heard’ whilst ‘denying their presence as a female object’.

Many critics share the view that Dickinson lived in a ‘patriarchal’ society. Majority of her poems include women living in an oppressive society and the poem is unsurprisingly feminist. Many of Dickinson’s poems have been analysed in order to understand how the poet reacted to the limitations put on women in the nineteenth century society.

Dickinson lived a quiet private life; it was in her writings that she revealed a strong feminine supremacy through her inspiring and creative work. She rarely left her house and started to live in almost complete isolation yet her poems demand ‘readerly participation’ (Martin, 2002:6). The poetic voices in Dickinson’s poems are often seeking to want more from life; but they also contain the idea of hope where opportunities for contentment and happiness are possible.

In the poem ‘I ‘m “Wife”- I’ve finished that’ Dickinson wanted to show the difference in becoming a ‘Woman’ and a ‘Wife’. The poetic voice is a young girl who has conflicting feelings about turning into a woman, particularly a wife, whilst constantly reassuring herself that it is ‘safer’ and ‘comfortable’ to be so. Her contradictory feelings arise when she realises that leaving girlhood, becoming a woman and then a wife will prevent her from having self-identity, because once she is a ‘Wife’ she is almost labelled as the possession of her husband.

Emily Dickinson portrays an extremely complicated approach regarding marriage in the poem. Although Dickinson was not married, she clearly demonstrated her perception on both situations, of being single and being married.

In the opening verse, the poetic voice is clearly anxious and concerned that she will have to close the chapters of her life as a girl now that she is married. The label ‘Wife’ given to women is contrasted with ‘Czar’; which is commonly associated with men as a wife can never become ‘Czar’ but a husband can. A woman is capable of becoming ‘Czar’ on her own, however once a ‘wife’ becomes a wife it ‘Stops there!’ with only the husband to appreciate her. It is clear that there are pressures on becoming a wife and the poetic voice is nervous that her life will become dominated by her husband after marriage.

Inequality is present in the first stanza because the female is expected to go through changes to become a woman and then change from a woman into a wife; however nothing is expected of a man. Piercing dashes are used to dismiss any comparisons which may be used in regard to the persona’s previous life as a girl. Capital letters and exclamation marks on the closing line of the poem show the frustration, unfairness and discrimination between men and women in Dickinson’s society.

I think the poetic voice is reluctantly accepting the idea that a ‘woman’ should ‘Stop’ at becoming a ‘wife’ and to be nothing more, because a wife has to acknowledge her husband wishes which restricts her from full freedom. In the poem Dickinson is implying that a woman who is not married is capable of more, without having others interfere such as a husband might.

Dickinson did not get married. It is startling than that her view on girls growing up would be to then move on to the stage of marriage. Dickinson is experiencing change because she has never been married before; therefore fantasizing about marriage allows her to explore her imagination and experience male dominance which in reality she does not want. I think the poet believed that it is ‘safer’ to be labelled and to be given an identity and she reflects this in the poem because it makes her feel protected compared to the identity she has in reality.

Dickinson produces a complicated representation of marriage. In the first verse ‘I’m “wife” – I’ve finished that / I’m “Woman” now – It’s safer so,’ the poetic voice is trying to reassure herself that now that she is married she has left her girlhood behind and has become a complete woman. I think the point Dickinson is trying to express is that every girl only truly becomes a full woman after she has married. In line 3, ‘I’m Czar’ illustrates a positive idea regarding marriage however the last line of verse 1, ‘It’s safer so’ is contradictory. In the nineteenth century it was the norm for girls to grow up, get married and to have children; therefore in the last line Dickinson ridicules the cultural norms of society for imposing these stereotypical views on girls pressuring them to get married.

In the second line of stanza 2, the marriage is called a ‘soft Eclipse’ which is the phase the woman is going through whilst reflecting on herself as a girl who has a sceptical feeling on marriage. The inequality of men and women is present when the woman goes through the stages of being a girl and into womanhood. Dickinson’s feminist thoughts are reflected in the poem showing that the persona secretly thinks it is more acceptable to be “Woman” instead of “Wife”. However, it could be argued that she is reflecting on the natural stages a girl goes through in life, and she sees marriage as a protection from pain. I think that Dickson is implying that a woman is more secure in marriage having a place in society, a partner to care for you and a household full of responsibilities to fulfil the expectations of a “Wife”. The poet compares being single and married to that of heaven and earth. The ‘Earth’ is used to suggest that single life is hard whereas married life is compared to that in ‘Heaven’.

Emily Dickinson is insecure with the idea of becoming a full woman. She talks about marriage and uses quotation marks around “Wife” and “Woman” because these words seem strange when associated with her, because she does not want to get married. However she visualises getting married and appears to be mocking the concept too.

Becoming a “Wife” was the only responsibility a girl had when she reached womanhood and there is clearly a feeling of regret. Dickinson has no social identity because she was single and women did not want to have this title as it was undesirable in society.

The last stanza emphasises on Dickinson’s feelings about marriage. The point she is making is that married life will bring ‘comfort’ to a girl through marriage. The final verse starts with ‘This being comfort – then/ That other kind was pain’, this creates contrasting ideas suggesting that marriage can bring happiness however it can also bring problems, sadness and pain.

The pain represents the reality of marriage within the poem. A husband and wife are combined by marriage and may be happy however, if they do not unite problems will arise that threaten the marriage and the home. When this happens it is very often that one person in the relationship will over power the other and it is usually the husband who dominates and suppresses the wife.

Dickinson constantly compares herself as a wife to a woman and a girl from the start to the end of the poem asking ‘why compare?’ because she is confused by the expectations required of a girl to get married, however she is trying to come to a conclusion. The last line ‘I’m “Wife”! Stop there!’ sounds like a command from a man, shouting and ordering the woman to stop questioning herself. The poet is trying to reflect that pain is caused when being alone. A married woman is a woman in her own right, although she will be expected to stop at being a “Wife” because only certain traits will be required of them.

Dickinson finishes the poem in an optimistic manner, stating that marriage should not be compared because she is a “Wife” and her thoughts should stop there. Again she is choosing to identify herself as a “Wife” although in reality she was not, which implies that being a “Wife” was a respectable status, and Dickinson is clearly mocking society by going against it. et ma

A distinct emphasis has been placed on the way Dickinson portrays speech and thoughts, on the poetic voice in the poem. Direct thought is the dominant manner that she uses to display the persona’s expressions because it makes the poem more dramatic. The reader gains an insight into the conscience of the poetic voice and the author’s mind; this allows readers to observe the different thoughts and feelings that the author is experiencing and trying to convey. The speech and thought of the poetic voice appears to be very confused talking about marriage with contrasting thoughts which shows that the poet is incomplete in some way and her thoughts are very disarrayed.

Dickinson clearly wanted to reflect the complicated issues regarding views on women and marriage. The first stanza lines 1-3 show that Emily is in favour of marriage, however the last line contradicts her opinion and she is implying that being married is the safer option, ridiculing society, as they impose these views on girls that they should get married.

She wants to highlight that marriage is respectable in society and provides girls with a secure life however, it can also cause pain and problems especially for women who enjoy their independence which reflects the feminist views that women will be restricted after marriage because they will be dominated by males, their husbands.

The poem compares the confusing thoughts of a female who is pressurised to get married and to follow the norms of society. I think the poem has an extremely feminist approach and is intended to mock society for wanting girls to grow up, marry and live a typical life. This poem contrasts ideas to show that women are independently better on their own; however marriage is the safer option because it is what society expects of them.

7. Q. Discuss the perspective psychology shown behind the comparison between a wife and a girl in the poem ‘I’m wife: I’ve finished that.

 

Perspective Psychology studies human behavior in relation to the environment and the mental processes that occur in behavior. Sigmund Freud was a psychologist that differentiates how we analyze the psychological aspects as “id”, “superego” and “ego”. According to Freud’s “id” is set by the ‘pleasure principle’, containing the basic needs and feelings. “Superego” is something that comes from outside ourselves and provides an optional way for us whether it is good or not. Then, the “ego” is the way how we choose and decide to do the “id” or not.

From the poem “I’m ‘wife’ – I’ve finished it'” by Emily Dickinson, we can find the “id”, “superego” and “ego” as we understand the intent of the poem. In the first stanza she writes “I’m a wife; I’ve finished it / I Women now: It’s safer,” meaning here is that now since she got married, she became a complete woman. The “id” is about how she refused to become a complete human being without the power of self and identity again. Because later as wives, women have to go along with their husbands and that means they do not have freedom anymore.

Then the “superego”, comes from the social status of the people in the midnineteenth century. When the public pressures women to get married, have a family, have children and have a distinctive lifestyle. The latter is the “ego”, although she refused to subject the marriage or because she wanted freedom. However, it turns out she cannot do it because it collided with a status that is given society. So in the end she remained in social status as “wife,” the only identity she shows she deserves to be appreciated in her environment.

In this poem Emily wants to show the difference of to be “woman” and “wife”. This poem told about a feeling of a young woman who is turning into a woman, especially a wife that looks “safer and more comfortable”, but dismisses her from becoming a full human being with no self power and self identity anymore. In the first stanza she writes “I’m wife; I’ve finished that / I’m Woman now: It’s safer so,” what she means here is that now since she was married, she has become a complete woman. I think the message that she is trying to say is that every girl has to get married in order to become a complete woman. But we know that as a wife the woman must go along with her husband. It is not as free as they are a woman that can do everything without interference from others. A woman can become a “Czar”, but a “wife” can only become a wife. Commonly her life will be dominated by her own husband.

In the second stanza she compares the single and married status into the earthheaven assumption. Being single is represented by the ‘rough’ life and realities of the earth and then a married woman’s life is compared to being in ‘Heaven.’ The last stanza begins with the lines “This being comfort, then/ That other kind was pain;” these two lines describe Emily’s feelings toward marriage. She said that the marriage will bring comfort but on the other side she also mentioned that marriage can also bring the other kind of pain.

She ends this poem by saying that there is no need to compare both the scenarios since she is now a ‘Wife’. Again, she uses the word ‘Wife’ to represent her status. To us it indicates that she is trying to mock the behavior of society in the middle of the nineteenth century for pressuring girls to get married, have a family, have children and have a typical lifestyle.

The poem shows us about life and marriage issues and how Dickinson had to live in the mid-nineteenth century. This poem also focuses on the identity of women

in relation to men and her identity in accordance with the experience of his life. Emily Dickinson is enduring the most influential poets in the world. Personal life and her mysteries sometimes overshadowed her achievements in poetry and her remarkable innovations in the form of poetry. The majority of his poems seem to have a sad tone to it; this otherwise.

Poem “I’m ‘wife’ – I’ve finished it” contains about identity, it shows us that she is trying to mock the behavior of people in that era to suppress women to marry. She said that the wedding would be a comfort but on the other hand she also mentions that marriage can also carry other types of pain. From the words of Emily Dickinson, we can conclude that she voiced freedom for women. It means a woman who can do everything without the intervention of others, men. A woman can be a “Czar” and determine its own course, but “wife” can only be a wife. She uses the word ‘wife’ to represent its status because of the mid-nineteenth century; it is safer to have a mate.

8. Elaborately discuss the feminist elements contained in the poem. Or, Q. How does the female characteristics portrayed in the poem define it as a feminist poem? Explain.

In Dickinson’s poem, “I ‘m wife; I’ve finished that”, it showed the woman’s difference of freedom when they are married and have not married. It is not amazed if this poem is connected to feminism approach. Feminist scholars have examined Dickinson’s poems and letters in an effort to gain some insight into how the poet responded to the gender-restrictive values of the mid-nineteenth-century patriarchal society. These critics have concluded that while as a person Dickinson succumbed to a life of social marginality and seclusion, as a poet she opened a new frontier of feminine power and assertiveness through her transcendent and imaginative verse.

Feminist scholars have identified a number of Dickinson’s poems which directly comment upon the role and experiences of women within a repressive patriarchal order. In addition, some of these critics have suggested that many more poems can be interpreted as the poet’s opinion of gender issues if one were to assume that the speaker in each verse is a female.

Dickinson’s poetry reflects her loneliness as we know she seldom left her house and by the 1860s, Dickinson lived in almost total physical isolation from the outside world. The speakers of her poems generally live in a state of want, but her poems are also marked by the intimate recollection of inspirational moments which are decidedly life-giving and suggest the possibility of happiness. Her work was heavily influenced by the Metaphysical poets of seventeenth-century England, as well as her reading of the Book of Revelation and her upbringing in a Puritan New England town which encouraged a Calvinist, orthodox, and conservative approach to Christianity.

Many of Dickinson’s poems discuss female identity in relation to males and her own identity in accordance to religion, nature, life and love. I think some of her poetry could definitely be grounded in the probability that she might have been thinking of her own identity in a society where first the father dominates and then the husband, but where she has experienced neither. When both don’t exist, the patriarchal system has been undercut.

“In I’m wife I’ve finished that” Emily wants to show the difference between “woman” and “wife”. The statement was said that this poem is about an uneasycontradictory feeling of a young woman who is turning into a woman, especially a wife that seems “safer and more comfortable”, but stopping her from becoming a full human being with no self empowerment and self identity anymore. There is a different position between “woman” and “wife” that show how both of them take steps.

In the first stanza, Emily shows that if she becomes a wife, she will finish all of what she had done. The labels and titles given to women (“Wife”) and to contrast it to what a woman can never be and a man can (“Czar”) demonstrates this with the sharp puncturing dashes, capital letters and exclamation marks at the end. The inequality of man and woman is clearly shown as well by the change the woman goes through from childhood: “girl” to womanhood: “Wife” characterized by an “Eclipse” in the second stanza. I guess, based on her, it is natural for “women” to stop at “wife” because as a wife the woman must go along with her husband. It is not as freedom as they are a woman that can do everything without interference of others. A woman can become a “Czar”, but a “wife” just only becomes a wife with the husband as her adoration. And often we see the intimidation wife by her own husband in their household. Her life will be dominated by her own husband.

Emily did not marry, but what perhaps is most poignant and really more the issue is not her ignorance and bitterness towards the married state but, after girlhood there is only marriage, and since she is not married, then what is she? It is about identity. The line “It’s safer so” shows that she believed that to have a label, to be ‘typical’, ‘normal’, etc. is to be ‘safer’ and to be more secure of her own identity. She is in flux having never been married and never having a domineering male force in her life, except from her constant issue with her religion/faith, of course dominated by men then.

Emily Dickinson presents a very intricate approach towards marriage. In the first stanza she writes “I’m ‘wife’ – I’ve finished that / I’m ‘Woman’ now – It’s safer so,” what she means here is that now since I am married, I have become a complete woman. I think the message that she is trying to convey is that every girl ought to get married in order for her to become a ‘complete’ woman. In the first 3 line Dickinson seems to present a pro-marriage opinion. But in the last line of stanza 1, she writes “It’s safer so,” here is where the ironic message is put forward. In the mid nineteenth century, it was a norm/expected for a girl to get married, have a

family, have children and have a typical lifestyle. So in the last line she mocks the society for pressurizing girls to get married.

In the second stanza, Emily called the marriage an “eclipse” of the woman, though a soft one because of her unsatisfied but culturally obligated feeling on marriage. The inequality of man and woman is clearly shown as well by the change the woman goes through from childhood: “girl” to womanhood: “Wife” characterized by an “Eclipse”. Dickinson is playing feminist. She is saying it is better to be “Woman” rather than “Wife.” Once you make this realization, you will see things as differently as the dead see life on earth. But maybe, she is pointing out the natural progression of a girl’s life from willfulness to marriage in “the soft eclipse”, almost like she sees marriage as a shelter from pain. In this stanza she compares the single-married issue to the earth-heaven scenario. Being single is represented by the ‘harsh’ life and realities of the earth and a married woman’s life is compared to being in ‘Heaven!’

In the other statement from Grace in the United States, Emily Dickinson is not finding security with becoming a woman, but insecurities. She does not want to be a wife or a woman and puts these words in quotes because they seem foreign when compared to her. This relates to her family life also because her father did not expect a woman to become anything and Emily rejected her mother’s identity insisting in her poems that she is an orphan upon herself. In this poem she fantasizes that she did enter in some kind of marriage, but she seems to almost be mocking it.

The final stanza describes Emily’s feelings in marriage. She said that the marriage at the other side will bring comfort as she is pointing out that the natural progression of a girl’s life from willfulness to marriage in “the soft eclipse”, almost like she sees marriage as a shelter from pain, but pain is the other kind. This stanza begins with the lines “This being comfort-then/ That other kind was pain,” these two lines transmit a mixed signal suggesting that married life is finally painless or the complete opposite of it. That pain comes from the reality of the household. How the couple, man and woman, will unite their want, their habit and their purpose in a nation. And when they can not unite that, there will be a problem that threatens their household. Occasionally, the one will dominate the other. In this case, we are always seeing that the woman is the oppressed side.

Basically, Emily is not satisfied with the marriage life; and that’s why she keeps comparing herself as she says “why compare?” from the beginning to the end of the poem, and the last line “I’m “Wife”! Stop there!” almost sounds like a man’s voice ordering her. However, she ends in a cynical tone: With independence comes pain, so it is natural for women to stop at “Wife.”

She ends the poem with a positive note towards marriage by saying that there is no need to compare both the scenarios since she is now a ‘Wife.’ Here again, she uses the word ‘Wife’ to represent her status. That to me indicates that she is trying to mock the sexist society of the middle nineteenth century.

As we analyze in the above section we know that in this poem Emily Dickinson wants to present a very intricate approach towards marriage. At the first 3 lines, she shows her pro-marriage opinion, but in the last she writes the ironic messages that mocks the society norm in mid nineteenth for pressurizing girls to get married. She wants to show that marriage for girls is like a “soft eclipse”. Marriage will give the safer life for the girls that are demanded of them and finally painless, or the complete opposite of it that will cause pain for them. I think this poem is presented to mock the sexist society of the middle nineteenth century for pressurizing girls to get married, have a family, have children and have a typical lifestyle.

9. Q. What significant symbols and imagery have been used by Dickinson in the poem ‘I’m “wife”: I’ve finished that? Explain.

Emily Dickinson’s, “I’m a wife- I’ve finished.that” poem is about women’s roles in society at the time, and how they rarely achieved the upper status and opportunities that they truly desired, because of the Earth’s ( she’s speaking of society) view on them. This can be observed by the image in the first stanza. Here, when Dickinson says ” I’ve finished that”, it is stating that it was certainly already finished to be a wife”. Therefore, it is in a way expected and achieved. She is also mocking the word “wife” with the use of her quotations. Then she speaks of another “state”, which is an extreme, a ” Czar”. Now she is a “woman”. To me, I believe she was saying that a “wife” is not the same as a “woman”, as in saying that women are not women under men’s control, and ironically are more safe away from society’s common role for women. 11

TOW “1 In the second and third stanzas when she says that a girl’s life is odd behind the “soft” eclipse, she is speaking of how bizarre life openly is for girls, since eclipses are bright and a monumental occasion. She also calls it “soft” to refer back to the wife”. She regards the Heavens above, emphasizing now, as in the issue on women is a current one, and then, to show a connection in time. She speaks of these in heaven having pain remembering when they listened and stopped! as and settled as wives. Therefore, this poem is ironically comparing ” wives” from ” czars-women”, and describes that even people in Heaven can look back and recall the pain they had in falling society’s demands of their assumed nature.

“Some critics have interpreted this as a wry anti-marriage poem extremely unusual in a day when marriage was extolled as the highest good. The fact is that American women’s wrongs literature had long portrayed the suffering of wives; in particular, several works in the literature of misery, such as Cary’s Married, Not Mated and Blake’s Southwold, had underscored the impossibility of happy marriages.

Indeed, the year before Dickinson wrote the above poem there had appeared a dark women’s novel, The Autobiography of a Married Woman, whose heroine

becomes so disillusioned with marriage that she exclaims: ‘Oh, mothers! Train your daughters to self-reliance, and not to feel that they are to marry simply because everybody does marry…. There are very few happy marriages; there can be but few where interest and self-love form the tie.’ Dickinson’s poem stands out not for any new statement about marriage it might contain but for its playful fusion of opposing views about the marriage relation that were circulating in American culture. One view, related to the Conventional ethos of domestic fiction, was that marriage was a state of heavenly bliss and of remarkable power for women.

In Dickinson’s own life, this idealization of domesticity was reflected in her wellknown enjoyment of housekeeping activities and in certain statements in her letters, such as her 1851 message to Susan Gilbert: ‘Home is a holy thing-nothing of doubt or distrust can enter its blessed portals. In the poem, this view is enforced by the images of the home as heaven and the wife as ‘Czar’ and ‘Woman’-images that invest the marriage relation with both bliss and power for woman. The contrasting view, related to the more cynical outlook on marriage held by some suffragists and women’s wrongs authors, saw marriage as an unequal state in which women suffered a range of ills, from economic deprivation to loss of independence.

In spinsterhood and in direct cries of protest in letters, such as her exclamatory note to Abiah Root: ‘God keep me from what they call households’ or her early comment to Susan Gilbert that their unmarried state must seem enviable to ‘the wife…sometimes the wife forgotten.’ In the poem, the anti-marriage view is crystallized in subtle images, such as ‘soft Eclipse’ and ‘Stop there!,’ suggesting the termination of a woman’s independence in marriage. Dickinson was not the first American writer to incorporate both positive and negative views of marriage.

Sara Parton, the author whose ‘spicy passages’ Dickinson had read to her father, had done this in successive sketches in Fern Leaves, and many women writers of the 1850s had studied tensions between womanly independence and heterosexual love. Dickinson was the first, however, to fuse contrasting views in a single text and individual metaphors. The literary fusion enables her to achieve a far more rounded view of marriage than was advanced by either the pro-marriage or anti-marriage groups. The message, if any can be gleaned, is that marriage is a heavenly state of power in which a woman gains safety and comfort but at the same time loses the painful but exhilarating self-sufficiency of maidenhood.

More important than the poem’s message, however, is its stylistic power. How concisely Dickinson communicates the treatment of wife as the husband’s objective possession through the quotation marks around ‘wife’ and ‘Woman’! How subtle are the tonal shifts in the poem, as the persona wavers between enthusiasm and skepticism about marriage! How potently does the phrase ‘soft Eclipse’ communicate that cushioned banality she envisages in marriage! As always in Dickinson’s poetry, the highest triumphs here are stylistic.

Given Dickinson’s literary aims, it is not surprising that she directly rejected women’s rights and was notably inconsistent on women’s issues. In the course of her close relationship with Thomas Wentworth Higginson, she never showed interest in one of his favorite reforms, women’s rights, and when the progressive popular novelist Elizabeth Stuart Phelps wrote her in 1872 asking for her aid in the women’s cause, she burned the letter and mailed her a flat refusal. This indifference to political feminism was part and parcel of serious authorship during the American Women’s Renaissance.”

10. Q. Appreciate critically and illustratively Dickinson’s poem.

The author of this poem is Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1839 in Massachusetts. She basically had few contacts with people and rarely went out of her house to meet people. To add, she had few visitors as well. But among those few people that she did had contact with they left a huge impact in her life mostly in her writing. One of the people that gave her the impact was Reverend Charles Wadsworth. They met on her first trip to Philadelphia. He even went to visit her in Amherst before he left for the West Coast in 1860. Though there is no clear explanation on their relationship status, it was stated that she referred to him as “my closest earthly friend”.

Emily Dickinson lived in complete isolation from the society. She only interacted with her family members and kept on writing and reading in her room. His brother was one of her intellectual companions during her lifetime. He attended law school and lived with his wife next door. To no surprise Emily Dickinson was not the only one who isolated herself from the society and the outside world because her little sister, Lavinia also lived in similar isolation for her entire life.

Most of Emily Dickinson’s poem actually portrays her loneliness living in isolation. She herself was questioning her status and place in society. It is quite obvious that her work was influenced by the Metaphysical poets of seventeenth-century England. Other than that her poems were also influenced by her upbringing in a Puritan New England town which has a quiet conservative approach to Christianity. A lot of her poems mainly discuss the theme of identity comparing male to female in terms of religion, life, love and nature. There is also the possibility that she had been questioning the status of a woman in society because she can see that her father, a political figure back then, dominated as a leader in the society and also as a husband in the house.

Based on the above poem, ‘I’m “wife”-I’ve finished that- Emily Dickinson wanted to compare between being a woman and a wife. For her being a wife is different from being a woman. Though in her real life, she had never been married but in this poem she used her imagination to put herself in the place of a married

woman. In the first stanza lines 1-3 we can clearly see that she is not in favor of marriage. She was saying that once you become a wife, you are considered as good as dead. Meanwhile if you are a woman, you can be like a king and have full control of yourself. But in the next line Emily Dickinson said even with all these feelings of being a woman is better than a wife, still being a wife is a safer option. In our opinion we think she is depicting that to not be a ‘wife’ you need courage and strength and if you do not have that it will be safer to just be a wife.

Emily Dickinson wanted to expose to her reader that there are consequences in being a wife. Yes in society it is highly respectable to be married and it provides girls with a home, food and protection but at the same time being a wife can also cause pain and sufferings especially to women who treasure their independence life. Once you are married, you become property to your husband and your life becomes restricted. This totally reflects the feminist views on marriage. In the poem, we can see that Emily Dickinson is comparing the confusing thought of a woman on marriage. To be married or not to be married. Back in those years, women got married because of the norms of society, they were pressured to be married instead of following their own will. To conclude, this poem wants women to know that they are independently better on their own but being married is the safer option.

                                                                           MARKS-5

1. Why did Dickinson write this poem?

Dickinson’s poem ‘I’m “Wife” – I’ve finished that also addresses the conflict in a woman’s life that is “eclipsed” behind the patriarchal control both before and after marriage. A girl is always made to feel insecure until she gets herself the right suitor who will then ensure her protection and security in life. However, even after marriage, a woman has to give up her individuality, which further deepens the dissatisfaction and insecurity in life.

But Dickinson was not ready to trade her individuality for any social obligation. She rarely had a social life and even gave up her faith in religion after being disillusioned by it. Dickinson proved very early that marriage is not the ultimate goal in a woman’s life and that she is self-sufficient enough to live on her own. As far as my interpretation goes, Dickinson’s introverted life which came after she had had enough interaction with the society was also a disappointment from a pretentious and patriarchal society that did not value the individuality and dignity of a woman.

2. Comment on the significance of the word ‘Czar’ in this poem.

Very unusual poem considering we know she never married. Here she imagines being a wife as being a “Czar”, an absolute ruler in full control of one’s domain, and she likes this feeling of power. She compares this to “the Girl’s life” which is an unmarried “pain” in which she has no control over her life and would be how she

actually felt about her situation. This poem speaks to the roles available to women through most of human history in that the best life might have had to offer is to be defined by their relationship with a man and, failing that, then being single is just “pain”. When Emily wrote this she was, and always would be, a single and unmarried woman which while she describes as being a “pain” she was also free to devote herself to her poetry, an art form which would allow her to (naively) imagine being a wife as being like a “Czar” of Russia, such as Catherine II. Of course being married is nothing like what she’s imagining here, but perhaps what she is getting at is that instead of being married to a man, she is married to her art? As someone married to poetry, she is “Czar” of the domain of her imagination, she can conjure up anything she pleases and command her pen to do what she wishes – she is in total control. And before she was married to her art, perhaps she saw herself as a naive “girl” who had yet to take control of her life before she discovered the power of her poetry. Her poetry can take her all the way into “Heaven”, when previously she was merely stuck on “Earth” and the real world having to deal with real world “pain” and issues. And so she doesn’t want to “compare” her new life as a “Wife” to poetry because everything before that time “was pain”.

3. Explain :I’m “wife”-I’ve finished thatThat other stateI’m Czar-I’m “Woman” nowIt’s safer so

In the first stanza of ‘I’m “wife” – I’ve finished that’ the speaker makes use of the line that later came to be used as the title. This was the case with the majority of Dickinson’s poems as she chose not to title them and the vast majority were published after her death. She describes in these first lines taking a different look at a way of living her life. The speaker decides to set aside her reality, that of an unmarried woman, and look at another way of being. She is “wife” now, “Czar” and wholly, as society thinks, “Woman’ now”. 0/15

Dickinson understands her own world very well. She is fully aware of the fact that being married is easier than being alone in the 19th century. It is “safer so” to be married than to live a spinster’s life. Line above show in Western industrial societies women are discriminated against on the basis of sex; that is, certain restrictions are placed on women as a group without regard to their own individual wishes, interests, abilities and needs.31 Liberal feminism here seen in the way the societies treated the women different as the men. The women have not their place to share everything, what society wants is the woman’s only focus on men.

4.Attempt a deconstructive reading of the binaries in the poem ‘I’m “wife”: I’ve finished that.

A deconstruction reading of “I’m ‘wife”” would look at the inherent binary

oppositions operating in the poem. These oppositions transpire as the Girls life/czar, woman/man, heaven/earth, pain/comfort. The first term in this metaphysical hierarchy turns out to be the privileged one, thus cancelling out the second term. However, the privileged status of these terms is undermined through the subversively deflected comparison:

“But why compare?/I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!” (Lines 11-12) The instability of the text is quite clear at this point. The poem reveals signs of hesitations in the shape of successive dashes (-), a thing which semantically articulates the undecidability and the indeterminacy of the terms arrived at. Now, the privileged term “the Girl’s life” dismantles itself and nothing remains of it except its oddity: “How odd the Girl’s life looks/Behind this soft Eclipse…” (Lines 5-6). However, the poetess’s concept of the term “wife” is sensed in her invocation of ‘comfort’ at the expense of pain, thus highlighting the term “wife”, as temporarily something final and unquestionable. The ambiguity and ambivalence of that(“I’m ‘wife’.I’ve finished that” (Line 1) and of there (“I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!” (Line 12) leave meanings suspended, unsure of themselves. Thus, the opening and closing lines of the poetic piece subvert a reality that can never fix itself and that is ever unstable. The absolute power symbolized by czar, a male, is cancelled out by “the girl […]”, a female, who is submerged by wife, a term that suppresses ‘husband’. The subverted elements are, thus, unraveled and unmasked.

5. Explain :  How odd the Girl’s life looks Behind this soft EclipseI think that Earth feels so To folks in Heaven….

Now, Dickinson takes a different look at the world. She imagines looking back at the life of a “girl” from “Behind this soft Eclipse”. This is an interesting line. The speaker is imagining looking on the world from the sunny side of an eclipse. The girl, whose on the other side, sees only darkness. This is another very poetic and figurative way of describing what the safety of marriage would be like. One is able to look at the world from a safe, warm, and bright position.

The image of the eclipse is then compared to the difference between heaven and earth. Those in heaven look down on the earth from the light while everyone on earth sees only darkness. The “folks in Heaven” are metaphorically compared to the life of a wife.

6. What sort of feminist viewpoints is the poet making here?

In this poem, “I’m wife, I’ve finished that”, Emily Dickinson offers a feminist critique on the institution of marriage that is governed by the rules shaped in relation with patriarchy. In the poem Dickinson wanted us to realize the fact that leaving a girlhood, becoming a woman and then a wife will prevent females from having self identity because, once she is a ‘Wife’ she is almost labeled as the possession of her

husband. The poem basically was written in order to react to the limitations that are put on women in a male dominant society. As a result of these limitations rises gender based issues. In the text, Emily Dickinson is in full support of women’s freedom and below the…show more content…

She uses the metaphor of “eclipse” for marriage. The adjective “soft” with metaphor seems to support marriage tie, but an eclipse itself indicates darkness and reclusion. Dickinson wanted to highlight the insignificance of women as a result of marriage contract but in a patriarchal society their mindset is that they become superior and significant only by getting married and look down upon the girls just the way the people of heaven give inferior looks to the people of earth. This inferior perspective from wife to girl is very ironic because women are in false conscience that they are only acceptable and can enjoy their life when they get married otherwise as a girl they have to face many problems in a society. The poetess is making a feminist point that this concept is wrong and she is of the view that the institution of marriage reduces a woman to a mere object that has to follow blindly the wishes of her husband. If a woman wants to have her freedom the only way is to remain as herself. 15V90 elom

7. Explain :This being comfort-then That other kind-was painBut why compare? I’m “Wife”! Stop there! 

In the line above explain that a married woman bears her own burden. She cannot share his deeper thoughts, feelings, and opinions anymore. Only she is aware of the thoughts, feelings and memories that are in her. In the first line, it said that the marriage at the other side will bring comfort as pointing out that the natural progression of a girl’s life from willfulness to marriage. Almost like a girl sees marriage as a shelter from pain, but pain is another kind. That pain comes from the reality of the household. How a man and a woman will unite their wants. But the problem is occasionally the one will dominate the other. In this case, we are always seeing that the woman is the oppressed side. The state of being married, as she has so far described, is more comfortable and warm. The “other kind,” the life of a spinster, “was pain”. This very clearly lays out one particular way of thinking about two ways of living one’s life. A reader should also consider how much of this writing they want to contribute to Dickinson’s own perspective on the world. Did she truly feel this way? If so, why not marry? If not, what inspired her to channel this persona?

The poem concludes abruptly with the speaker calling a stop to call comparisons between the two lives. She’s decided that she’s finished with being a spinster and is now “Wife,” that’s all there is to it. The line “But why compare?” could also be taken another way. It might be Dickinson interjecting, frustratedly insisting that there

is no reason to compare the life of a wife to that of a single woman. One should not, in theory, be better or more important than the other.

 

8. what does “that earth feels so/ To folks in Heavens-now” symbolise?

Dickinson relates the feeling of being in marriage, in safety, and the disparity of being a girl, of living life to the goal of being wed, to the feeling of finally getting into heaven after toiling on Earth. This comparison reads two ways, with one offering happiness and one offering regret. Some entering heaven will be satisfied that they have finally reached paradise, the way some women reached satisfaction in marriage after living their childhood with the goal of being attractive to a suitor. Yet, the other way of reading this is this is that some, upon entrance to Heaven, are unsatisfied with it, and regret giving up choices in life, having been so focused upon it. In this reading, the speaker may be disillusioned with marriage, and seek the freedom she may have found had she separated herself from societal norms.

– 9. What sort of attitude towards marriage does the speaker have?

Dickinson has the wife symbolize maturity, power and strength in poem after poem. Yet her painful awareness of the loss of self in marriage always hovers around and finally triumphs over the illusory happiness of the married state. Nearly forty of her poems are about marriage, figurative or actual. Her attitude to contemporary pattern of marriage shows up in the following poem: I am “wife”- I’ve finished that – That other state – I’m Czar- I’m “woman” now – It’s safer so – How odd the girl’s life looksBehind this soft EclipseI think that Earth feels so To folks in Heaven now This being comfort – then That other kind was painBut why compare? I’m “wife” ! Stop there !

The poem begins on a note of apparent assurance and ecstasy at the married state. But the concept of wedlock as heavenly security and legal maturity loses strength when the poet says that ‘This being comfort’! the other kind must be “pain”. Because the use of dashes and stops implies a lack of real conviction. This belief on the part of the married woman appears to be a mere delusion. The loss of self is quietly suggested by the word “Eclipse”. Marriage is a kind of “Eclipse” that makes the women invisible. The subtle irony in the last two lines shatters the illusion created in the first stanza. The speaker wife refrains from comparing the two states as if afraid of unfavorable consequences. Dickinson associates married life with its safety and comfort with the afterlife. Her ambiguity poses an implied question. Can safety and comfort justify the “Eclipse” of a life-?

10. How is the figure of female characters in the poem “Im Wife Finished That” by Emily Dickinson?

The poem, ‘I’m’ ‘Wife”: I’ve Finished That’ by Emily Dickinson tells of the freedom of women in the Year of Nineteens when after and before the wedding. Married women of that time did not have the opportunity to continue living as they

wished because of being isolated by their status as ‘wifes’. In the poem ‘I’m Wife, I’ve Finished that’ Dickinson wanted to show the difference in becoming a ‘woman’ to be a ‘wife’. The poem plays a lot with the feelings of women who are forced to marry and lose their girlhood, because if women are a ‘wife’ they should be labelled as the possession of her husband. In this poem Emily Dickinson portrays an extremely complicated approach regarding marriage. Although Dickinson wasn’t married she clearly demonstrated her perception on both situations of being single and being married. Dickinson portrays much sadness and pain as a ‘wife’ in his poetry.

Dickinson expressed happiness in the household is very hard to find especially if you are a ‘wife’. people who most feel the sadness and pain in marriage are because women in a dominant husband’s household. She wants to highlighted that marriage is respectable in society and provides girls with asecure life whoever it can also cause pain and problems especially for women who enjoy their independence which reflects the feminist views that women will be restricted after marriage because they will be dominated by males, their husband. The poem compares the confusing thoughts of a female who is pressurised to get married and to follow the norms of society. The poem has an extremely feminist approach and is intended to mock society for wanting girls to grow up, marry and live a typical life. This poem contrasts ideas to show that women are independently better on their own; however marriage is the safer option because it is what society expects of them.

 

                                               MARKS 2

1. Why did the speaker exclaim ‘I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!’?

The very fact that the speaker must exclaim “I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!” suggests that the “soft Eclipse” cannot fully separate her from her past self. Her thoughts slip into recollection and she must mentally scold herself. 15w riproje

 2. What does ‘but why compare’ suggest?

“But why compare” within the poem symbolizes the meaning behind the poem itself. The speaker has found herself in the peace of marriage, attaining the goal pushed upon girls within her society from a young age, forcing much of their growth to be with the intention of getting married. Now that she has achieved it though, she battles thoughts on what life could’ve been under the freedom of staying single, of carving out her own life. She is comparing thoughts of identity of self with thoughts of simply being known as “wife”.

3. Why does the speaker use the term ‘Czar’?

The label ‘wife’ given to women is contrasted with ‘Czar’, which is commonly associated with men as a wife can never become ‘Czar’ but a husband can. A woman is capable of becoming Czar on her own but once she becomes a wife, it stops there.

4. What does the poet talk about in the poem? 

power Emily imagines that she is married to her Master, a full woman now with the of a Czar. An eclipse has occurred of her former life as an unmarried girl, but it is ‘soft’ rather than traumatic and is like being in heaven after life on earth. She ends with a cry of triumph, but of course it is all in her imagination, as she envisages what married life with Samuel Bowles might have been after Sue’s coldness.

5. Which word in the poem is used to denote gender discrimination?

 

In this poem by Emily Dickinson, she wanted to describe gender discrimination at that time, she used the term “wife ” which was the object of community discrimination at the time.

 

6. Why are dashes used in the poem?

Piercing dashes are used to dismiss any comparisons which may be used in regard to the persona’s previous life as a girl.

7. What does the poem describe?

In her poem Emily describes the life of a woman after marriage where a woman no longer has life after her marriage, as if constrained by a “marriage”.

8. Of which problem does the speaker talk about in the poem?

The poem “I’m Wife Finished That” is a poem that introduces a very complicated marriage problem in the 90s.

9. What is the purpose of using capital letters and exclamation marks in the poem?

Capital letters throughout the poem and the exclamation marks on the closing line of the poem show the frustration, unfairness and discrimination between men and women in Dickinson’s society.

10. What does ‘eclipse’ symbolize?

In the second stanza, Emily called the marriage an “eclipse” of the woman, thought a soft one because of her unsatisfied but culturally obligated feeling on marriage.

11. What is the Heaven-Earth scenario in the poem?

In this poem, she compares the single-married issue to the earth-heaven scenario. Being single is represented by the “harsh” life and realities of the earth and a married woman’s life is compared to being in “heaven”.

12. What does the poet imply?

In the poem, Dickinson is implying that a woman who is not married is capable of more, without having others interfere, such as a husband might. 13. Did Dickinson herself become a wife?

No, Dickinson did not get married.

14. Why does she write about being a wife in the poem?

Dickinson is experiencing change because she has never been married before. Therefore, by fantasizing about marriage allows her to explore her imagination and experience the male dominance which in reality she does not want.

15. Who is the poetic voice in the poem? Is she present or past?

The poetic voice in this poem is a young girl who has conflicted feelings about turning into a woman, particularly a wife, whilst constantly reassuring herself that it is ‘safer’ and ‘comfortable’ to be so.

The female voice in the poem is present, however the identity of the woman is made ultimately invisible.

16. Why does the poetic voice want to stop there’?

The poetic voice is reluctantly accepting the idea that a ‘woman’ should ‘stop’ at becoming a ‘wife’ and to be nothing more, because a wife has to acknowledge her husband’s wishes which restricts her from full freedom.

17. When does a girl become a woman truly?

Every girl truly becomes a woman after she has married.

18. What does In the last line of the first stanza of the poem, Dickinson ridicules the cultural norms of society for imposing the stereotypical views of marriage on girls pressurizing them to get married.

the speaker ridicule in the last line of the first stanza?

19. What protects a girl from pain?

Marriage protects a girl from pain inflicted by society.

20. Why does a woman need that sort of protection?

Dickinson is implying that a woman is more secure in marriage having a place in society, a partner to care for you and a household full of responsibilities to fulfill the expectations of a ‘wife’.

when 21. What is being compared to what in the second stanza? Why? The poet compares being single and married to that of Earth and Heaven in the second stanza.

The ‘Earth’ is used to suggest that single life is hard whereas married life is compared to that in ‘Heaven’.

22. Why does the poet use quotation marks in the words ‘wife’ and ‘woman’?

Emily Dickinson is insecure with the idea of becoming a full woman. She talks about marriage and uses quotation marks around ‘wife’ and ‘woman’ because these words seem strange when associated with her, because she does not want to get married.

SOV bns

23. Does the girl regret getting married?

Becoming a ‘wife’ was the only responsibility a girl had when she reached womanhood and there is clearly a feeling of regret.

24. When she says ‘this being comfort’, why does she again say ‘the other kind was pain’?

This creates contrasting ideas suggesting that marriage can bring happiness, however, it can also bring problems, sadness and pain.

25. What does the pain represent?

The pain represents the reality of marriage within the poem.

26. What problems might arise as pain after marriage?

A husband and wife are combined by marriage and may be happy, however, if they do not unite, problems will arise that threaten the marriage and the home. When this happens, it is very often that one person in the relationship will overpower the other and it is usually the husband who dominates and suppresses the wife.

27. Why does she say ‘why compare’?

Dickinson constantly compares herself as a wife to a woman and a girl from the start to the end of the poem asking ‘why compare?’ because she is confused by the expectations required of a girl to get married, however she is trying to come to a conclusion.

28. What effect does the last line bring?

The last line ‘I’m Wife! Stop there!’ sounds like a command from a man, shouting and ordering the woman to stop questioning herself.

29. Why does she want to stop?

A married woman is a woman in her own right, although she will be expected to stop at being a ‘wife’ because only certain traits will be required of them.

30. Why does the last line of the poem contradict from the initial lines?

The initial lines show that the poet is in favour of marriage, however, the last line contradicts her opinion and she is implying that being married is the safer option, ridiculing society, as they impose these views on girls that they should get married and lose their free will and independence.

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