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Can someone come up with a definition for ignorance in Emily Dickinson's poem "I'm...

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readeal3 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:30 PM via web

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Can someone come up with a definition for ignorance in Emily Dickinson's poem "I'm nobody! Who are you?"

Would appreciate it

Thanks Joelle

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writergal06 | Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:43 PM (Answer #1)

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The poem by Emily Dickinson celebrates individuality and seems to condemn those that feel like social identity is the only way to be known. She compares the "somebody"s of the world to a frog croaking in a bog, proclaiming self and looking for admiration. She would rather be fully herself and a nobody, than a somebody that compromises her identity. With this in mind, it would be feasible to define ignorance, from the speaker's perspective, as searching for the acceptance of others. Though the word "ignorance" doesn't appear in the poem, the context of the second stanza leads us to believe that the speaker feels it is pointless to be "somebody" ("how dreary to be Somebody..."). By comparing those people to frogs, she further creates an tone of judgment on the ones that fit into that category.

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