Compare and contrast Emily Dickinson's "The Soul selects her own Society—" and Robert Frost's "Desert Places."

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Emily Dickinson’s “The Soul selects her own Society—” is a poem about one’s choice to remain isolated. The speaker personifies the human soul as one who “shuts the door— / To her Divine majority—” once it has found a single focus.

In contrast, the speaker in Robert Frost’s “Desert Places” is haunted by the loneliness he feels deep within: his isolation is “so much nearer home.” While Dickinson’s poem views isolation as chosen and potentially favorable, Frost’s poem depicts it as terrifying.

Stylistically, the poems couldn’t be more distinct. Dickinson’s use of dashes could indicate clipped thoughts, while the imagery relates to an opulent world: “chariots,” “gate,” “emperor,” and “nation.”

Frost, in turn, employs a regular AABA rhyme scheme to indicate continuity of thought. The diction in his poem is focused on the natural world: “snow,” “weeds,” “woods,” and “animals.” This shows that the speaker is reflecting on how the snowfall mimics his inner bleakness.

While both poems address a similar theme, their messages are distinguished from one other by the speakers' feelings about isolation.

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