The Soul selects her own Society— Questions and Answers
by Emily Dickinson

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How can I write an essay comparing and contrasting Dickinson's "The Soul Selects her own Society," "Wild Nights—Wild Nights!" and Frost's "The Silken Tent"?

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dave-algonquin eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I've compiled the analysis of each poem in the reference links below for you as a resource as you're exploring your outline. 

As I was forming similarities and differences in my notes about the three poems, it seemed like an interesting route to take with this would be to settle on comparing the poems structurally and how they serve to impact the themes and tones within the poem.

Frost's is the most technical (sonnet) and he uses that structure to celebrate love. He imagines love as the anchor that holds the world together. Beneath the chaos of reality is form, beauty, and strength.

In stark contrast, The Soul selects her own Society seems to reject the notion that love binds the fabric of our lives together. Her halting diction and words like "closed valves" indicate that she refuses to fall into society's hypnotic trap and hive-mind thought processes. She desires to have her own beliefs and independence not ornately decorated with false assumptions.

Wild Nights--Wild Nights! can be read as a sequel to The Soul selects her own Society. Once she has abandoned Frost's universal notions of love, she discovers that she has a desire to find a lover to share her body and her mind. She is on a metaphorical ship on an endless sea searching for a companion. She wishes to "moor" in someone's port for "tonight." Although she claims that she just desires a brief fling, there seems to be a longing for the shared love she rejects in The Soul selects her own Society. It could be argued that her journey will lead her to seek refuge in the structured "Silken Tent" Frost celebrates in his sonnet. 

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