At first, the tone of the famous poem "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" by Emily Dickinson seems to be simple and lighthearted, but this is deceptive. In fact, the poem has deep undertones, and a careful reading causes these to emerge. There are several tones that complement one another.
First of all, the beginning of the poem has a lonely, plaintive tone. The narrator considers herself to be nobody, that is, a person of no importance; however, she longs for companionship. For her, the best person to befriend is another nobody. In this way, she and her friend will not threaten one another. They feel safe in their anonymity and have no desire to be brought to anyone else's notice.
The poem also has a tone of rebelliousness against the status quo. The last thing most people want to become is a nobody. Most people crave the attention of others and take steps to make themselves popular. In proclaiming herself nobody, the narrator is standing apart from the rest of the crowd, all of whom are vying for the attention of the others.
Finally, the poem is scornful of people who crave societal attention and celebrity status. The narrator compares celebrities to frogs, and the people who adulate them as "an admiring bog," which is a swamp where frogs live. This ties in with another famous poem of Emily Dickinson's called "Publication - Is the Auction." In it, she refers to publication as "so foul a thing" and the "auction of the mind of man." She was of the opinion that creativity could not be bought or sold. She was extremely reclusive, and most of her poems were not published until after she died.
We see, then, that "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" is outwardly simple and lighthearted, but has deep tones of lonely longing for companionship, rebellion, and scorn for celebrity.