What are the themes, issues, and ideas of "My life had stood a Loaded Gun" by Emily Dickinson?

Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One technique is allegory. The poem compares something in her life to a loaded gun:

My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun -
In Corners - till a Day
The Owner passed - identified -
And carried Me away

What really IS the loaded gun? It represents anger, anger so strong, it has the power to kill. Anger which most of the time she hides, "in a corner" but sometimes, it "carries her away":

Though I than He - may longer live
He longer must - than I -
For I have but the power to kill,
Without--the power to die--

There is also personification. The speaker and the "gun" go out hunting together (the gun is personified):

And now We roam in Sovereign Woods -
And now We hunt the Doe -
And every time I speak for Him -
The Mountains straight reply -

There is other personification in the poem as well (the mountains straight reply).

Some critics believe that this poem is autobiographical, as much of Dickinson's work was, and expresses anger at her repressed role as a woman in the society in which she lived.

What do you think? Her work is ambiguous at times, so you could have your own interpretation. Read about Emily here on enotes.