Emily Dickinson Questions and Answers

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In "What Soft Cherubic Creatures," what is the idea Emily Dickinson attempts to address and how does she convey this idea?

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Helen Vendler, in a splendid commentary on Emily Dickinson’s poem “What Soft—Cherubic Creatures—” (see link below), has explained the poem's basic premises.  The speaker is in the company of conventional, upper-class women of the nineteenth century. Such refined, sophisticated, cultivated, and pampered women would be ashamed of anything lowly, common, or exposed to the elements (“freckled”). They would therefore be ashamed even of Jesus (the “Deity”), who, after all, spent his time mostly outside, in the company of the lowly and the common. Such women would regard Christ as too “common” (after all, he spent time with fishermen). By the end of the poem the speaker hopes (or perhaps warns) that

Redemption—Brittle Lady— [may]

Be so [perhaps meaning "equally"] —ashamed of Thee—

How does Dickinson use the phrasing of her poem to convey this “message”?

Line 1 at first might be read as complimentary; we might even for a moment assume that the speaker is referring...

(The entire section contains 581 words.)

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