i would like an analysis of Emily Dickinson's poem "Like Her the Saints Retire," what does purple symbolize in this poem?Like Her the Saints Retire by Emily Dickinson

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Like her the Saints retire,
In their Chapeaux of fire,
Martial as she!

Like her the Evenings steal
Purple and Cochineal
After the Day!

"Departed"—both—they say!
i.e. gathered away,
Not found,

Argues the Aster still—
Reasons the Daffodil

With a suggestion of royalty and mysticism, the purple of Emily Dickinson's poem denotes also spiritual depth and a connection with the consciousness of spiritual understanding.  In her poem "Like her the Saints retire,"  Emily Dickinson writes of the sunset that blazes out like the halos [chapeaux is literally hats] of the saints.  The evening "steals" upon the day in the undertones of reds and blues that break apart from purple as suggested by the word cochineal, which is a scarlet dye from an insect.  The flowers seem in awe of this spiritual beauty in the sunset as they are uplifted by it: "Profound," the Daffodil finds it.

There may, perhaps, even be a bit of a conflict between the sunset and the evening as the "Martial" sun departs in blazes of light and the Evening "steals" upon the earth, "gathered away,/Not found."  This conflict reflects what may have been within the poet Dickinson who possessed some personality disorders, according to some psychologists. "Profound!"


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