“My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun—” (the title is not Emily Dickinson’s, since she did not title her poems) is a short poem of twenty-four lines divided into six stanzas. The poem is written in the first person from the point of view of a speaker who compares her life to “a Loaded Gun.” In fact, the voice of the speaker and the voice of the gun are identical throughout the poem.
In the opening stanza of the poem, the speaker tells how her life—of which she speaks as if it were “a Loaded Gun”—had been full of potential power yet unused and inactive (“a Loaded Gun—/ In Corners”) until its “Owner” came by, “identified” it, and carried it away. The speaker (as gun) then contrasts, beginning in the second stanza, what her life is like now that she has been claimed and put into use by her “Owner.” Together, the speaker (gun) and her owner are free to wander anywhere they like (“We roam in Sovreign Woods”) and have the power and authority to pursue even the prized game of royal reserves (“And now We hunt the Doe”).
Halfway through the second stanza, however, the speaker begins to turn away from the power of the royal “We” and to focus instead on her own sense of emerging individual power: “And every time I speak for Him—/ The Mountains straight reply.” In these lines, the speaker usurps the owner’s right to speak for himself. Moreover, whereas in the past the speaker’s life has stood “In...
(The entire section is 523 words.)