illustration of a gray snake moving through a field of green grass

A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

by Emily Dickinson

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What does the poet suggest happens to most of us when we first see "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass"?

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In the poem "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass," Emily Dickinson describes a figure in nature as though it is a thin man. She asks readers if they have "met him." As the poem continues, Dickinson talks about how the "fellow" will appear in "The grass" as it "divides." So, the speaker first refers to how we might notice the fellow as it moves through the grass.
The speaker then tells us about the places where this fellow likes to spend his time: "a Boggy Acre," "A floor too cool for Corn." This makes it seem like the fellow is sort of mysterious or creepy. The feeling is later confirmed when Dickinson says she
never met this Fellow
Attended or alone
Without a tighter Breathing
And Zero at the Bone.
This makes it seem like she is chilled and anxious when she comes upon the fellow. She makes the point earlier that she is friendly with many of "Nature's People," so it's odd that she feels differently about this figure.
Though she never confirms it explicitly, Dickinson's fellow seems to be a snake. The common idiom "a snake in the grass" is called to mind when we read about this "narrow Fellow in the Grass." The fellow actually being a snake also makes sense given Dickinson's discomfort around him and the anxiety that he inspires.
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