The soul is personified in the poem "The Soul selects her own Society—." 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...

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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 people, and then close herself off again and pay no more attention to anyone else. Ultimately, then, the human action that the soul performs is an intangible one, though the soul's decisions are so final that they feel almost tangible, like closing a door or turning to stone.

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In Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Soul selects her own Society,” the Soul is depicted as reclusive and retiring, choosing her few companions with great care and applying her own rules. We might say that the Soul is personified, but the poet herself probably would not, since for her the Soul is the essence of the person. Shutting "the Door," as the Soul does in the second line, is the action of a physical human being, but is intended metaphorically here. Indeed, since her principal human attributes and powers in the poem are those of exclusion (lines 2 and 11), observation (line 5), and selection (lines 1 and 10), it is difficult to see what action of the Soul would require personification. These all seem like actions a Soul, if we admit the existence or possibility of such a thing, could perform on her own account.

The Soul, as the first line makes clear, is choosing her society: that is to say, who will be allowed to share her secrets and have any kind of effect on her. The Soul is delicate and sensitive, generally preferring solitude to company and only selecting a very few friends—so few that only one “from an ample nation” may be found to merit inclusion. The Soul cares nothing for the standards of the world— an Emperor may kneel in vain—but is perfectly independent, even idiosyncratic, in her standards.

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Emily Dickinson personifies the idea of 'the soul' in several places in her poem 'The Soul Selects Her Own Society' if that is possible as a 'soul' is an ethereal ephemeral thing. Indeed the idea that humans have a soul at all is not accepted by every person. Dickinson however is clearly open to the idea and is intrigued to explore it further in her poem. Firstly, look in the title - so often overlooked in poetry. She refers to the soul being capapble of making choices - of having free will. She also refers to the idea of gender which is interesting as other ethereal entities such as angels are gender-less. So, we begin to get the picture that she may be talking about a particular soul - her own. The poet then gives the soul the ability to 'make things happen' (closing doors, albeit virtual ones.) Another action word or verb is 'notes' - this soul is capable of making observations and recording them. The idea of selection is clearly important to Dickinson, and to 'the soul' - she chooses to use another word 'choose.'

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In two instances, the poet actually describes the soul performing physical acts:

a) "Then [the soul] shuts the door";

b) "Then close the valves of her attention / Like stone."

Philosophers have disagreed about the nature of the soul, but no-one has ever suggested that the soul has hands with which it can shut doors and close valves!  Obviously, Emily Dickenson is using personification in the two above-mentioned phrases.

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Emily Dickinson was known for being a hermit as well as a great poet.  She rarely left her house and never published her work in her lifetime.  This poem is about her tendency to introversion and her inability to interact with the larger world.

The soul stands in for the whole person.  In fact, the soul is so separated from the speaker that it takes on its own personality, becoming regal and more powerful than the whole person.  The soul chooses a friend and rejects all others, closing "the valves of her attention" and sealing herself off from others.

We get the feeling that Emily wanted to be more involved and extroverted, but something in her--a phobia, perhaps, or mental illness--would not allow it.

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Since souls are, by definition, human, I don't know if they can be personified.  But that's beside the point, I guess.

In this poem, the speaker is saying that the soul is acting like a human being.  She (the soul) is selecting who she wants as her friends (or perhaps as her lovers).

The poem says that the soul is making her choices based on what she thinks.  She doesn't care if the person asking to be chosen is an emperor or what -- only those that measure up to what she expects will be chosen.

The soul is credited with being determined and confident in her choices.  She is also given credit for being picky -- not just taking any old person.

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