Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 213
The poem “Title Divine-Is Mine” by Emily Dickinson begins with a kind of celebration of marriage. The speaker is a newlywed talking about the titles she has now such as:
Acute Degree-conferred on me-
Empress of Cavalry!
Like many Dickinson poems, the poem eventually shifts in tone. It moves through how she’s like royalty now, since she has the gold ring of marriage and the fancy dress, and how she is even bound into marriage by God himself in the vows.
But, then there’s the line:
In a Day-
The speaker is implying that, despite the appearance of becoming royalty, there’s also a death involved. She is being reborn and becoming a bride, but is also simultaneously being “shrouded." When you’re writing about the poem, it can help to cover the dual nature of Dickinson’s words here. She is certainly saying something about how little power women tend to have once they get married.
The religious imagery in the poem implies that this kind of difference in power is encoded into not just marriage and secular conventions, but in every aspect of society—even the church and the way that society thinks God views the situation. The final line questions whether it’s all a good idea.