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

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In the poem "The Soul selects her own Society," the soul is personified.  What human attributes are given to it? What is the soul doing?

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The soul is personified in this poem, referred to with the pronouns "she" and "her." This "she" performs the human behaviors associated with determining with whom she desires to associate. The soul "selects her own Society," meaning that she chooses with whom she wants to interact; she carefully selects her own few friends from among a great many choices.

The speaker describes the soul as "shut[tin]g the Door" on the majority of people and as being "Unmoved" by those who come in chariots to "paus[e]—/ At her low Gate," even including "an Emperor" who comes to kneel before her. In other words, the soul is not impressed by people who are rich (and drive chariots) or powerful (like heads of empires) and is unmoved by status and wealth; these things do not compel her to choose a person. She must value other qualities that have nothing to do with these things.

The speaker says that she has known the soul to select only one person from among an "ample nation," or fairly large group of...

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