What is the tone in "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" by Emily Dickinson?

1 Answer | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

With tone meaning the speaker's attitude toward the subject, the emotional coloring or meaning of a poem, the reader must consider the homiletic style that Dickinson uses in her poem "Hope is the Thing with Feathers."  For, like the Psalms and religious hymns, there is a reverential and uplifting tone to this verse:

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.

Thwn, too, there is something of the divine in this hope with feathers that rests within the soul--a reassuring thought, indeed, and reverential as it can withstand the storm, a storm that "must be sore" if it can "abash the little bird."  Hope, "the thing with feathers,"-stands above the storm that attempts to damage.  This hope abounds "in the chillest land" and "on the strangest sea" without demanding anything.  It gives strength; it lifts the spirits with wings.  The reader is reassured that hope gives without asking, for

...never in extremity

It asked a crumb of me. 

We’ve answered 317,681 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question