In "Tell All the Truth but Tell it Slant", what do you think the poem means?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is one of Emily Dickinson's poems where she challenges the norm and tries to make us see how we need to modify our approach to "truth". Dickinson uses metaphors to describe truth as a blinding light - look for descriptions such as "Truth's superb surprise", "dazzle" and reference to blindness. Dickinson thus argues that we should tell the truth, but we need to do it "slant" - or in a way that does not blind people with the harshness and brightness of its veracity. She commends us to realise that "Success in circuit lies", which means that the way to tell the truth is not in a blunt fashion but in a roundabout kind of way that does not "blind" people directly. Dickinson also says something inherent about human nature, arguing that the raw "truth" is "Too bright for our infirm delight", saying that there is something about humanity which means we find it hard to accept the truth told bluntly.