A Bird came down the Walk— Questions and Answers
by Emily Dickinson

Start Your Free Trial

Why did the bird's eyes look like frightened beads?

Expert Answers info

Ashly Hintz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12), Professional Tutor

bookB.S. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


calendarEducator since 2019

write716 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The bird that has alighted on this plot of land is hopping about, feeding on worms and lapping up dew from the grass. However, as all animals are, it is constantly on watch. When the bird takes a moment's pause, its eyes flit around, gleaming like dark beads, according to Dickinson.

The pitch-black eyes would have darted back and forth, examining every aspect of the scene, and most likely would have spotted Dickinson (or the character poem's speaker, if it is not her). In that moment, the bird would have been taken by innate fear, as all prey animals are when observing a larger creature who is potentially dangerous. The bird does not know the speaker's intentions with it, so it is being extremely cautious. Fortunately, the speaker offers it a crumb to eat, showing her kind intentions.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial