What stylistic devices does Dickinson use to explore poetic themes, and what is the overall tone of the poem "I taste a liquor never brewed—"?
Emily Dickenson uses metaphor and imagery to create an excited, happy, and humorous tone in comparing the feeling of a summer day to becoming intoxicated in a tavern.
The entirety of the poem "I taste a liquor never brewed—" is an extended metaphor. In it, Dickinson describes the feeling of an early summer day as though it is a liquor from which she is becoming drunk. The liquor is "never brewed" because it is in nature. It is constant, and no wine or other drink made by men could ever be so sweet. She uses the imagery "inns of molten blue" to describe a clear blue sky, a perfect summer day.
Dickinson's tone for the poem is joyous but quite clearly exaggerated. The speaker portrays herself as a person with an endless appetite for summer. She asserts that butterflies and bees will have eventually drunken their fill and be unable to consume anymore. She, however, will continue to drink. She will never be able to get enough of the liquor that is summer. This exaggerated and over-the-top craving for summer days contributes to the whimsical, playful tone of the poem.
She uses religious imagery in the final stanza to elevate herself to something of a saint of drunkenness and summer. She will drink of the summer until "Saints — to windows run" to see her leaning, her spirit elevated to the loftiest realms of summer. It is this stanza that adds a poignant lifting of the speaker's spirit. It is a celebration of summer in an almost religious context.
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