The Soul selects her own Society— "The Soul Selects Her Own Society"
by Emily Dickinson

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"The Soul Selects Her Own Society"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

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Context: The retiring Emily Dickinson, noted for the simplicity and economy of her poetic style, the sharpness of images, and the assonance and "off-rhyme" of her brief poems, often comments on the ways and nature of man. In "The Soul selects her own Society–," she notes that the soul of man sometimes chooses one companion and then rejects all others. Typically, she counters her majestic images, "chariots" and "emperor kneeling," with homey ones, "low gate" and "upon her mat." The complete poem reads:

The Soul selects her own Society–Then–shuts the Door–To her divine Majority–Present no more–Unmoved–she notes the Chariots–pausing–At her low Gate–Unmoved–an Emperor be kneelingUpon her Mat–I've known her–from an ample nation–Choose nation–Choose One–Then–close the Valves of her attention–Like Stone–