What is the climax of "A Bird came down the Walk" by Emily Dickinson?

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iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's hard to say what the climax of Emily Dickinson's "A Bird came down the Walk" is; indeed, it's difficult to say if there even is a climax in the poem, as the piece (like all of Dickinson's poems) is spare, radically unique, and difficult. For my part, however, I'd like to make a guess that the climax of the poem (if there is one) could be found in the lines "He stirred his Velvet Head / Like one in danger, Cautious, / I offered him a Crumb" (12-14). In these lines, it seems as though the bird becomes aware of his observer, and there is a tense moment as both parties are apparently "Cautious" of one another. Indeed, the offering of the crumb appears to be a dangerous transaction between a human being and the natural world, and neither parties are quite sure what to make of this interaction. As such, since one could argue these lines encapsulate the tensest action in the poem, one could also argue they constitute the climax. That said, it really is quite difficult to discern where the climax in this poem is, as the ambiguity of Dickinson's prose makes the work difficult to decipher.

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A Bird came down the Walk—

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