“Title divine—is mine!” is a short poem of fifteen lines written in 1862 and first published in The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. The poem’s metrical formula and rhyme scheme are irregular but loosely follow those used in hymnals. The word “divine” in the title has a religious connotation as it calls the reader’s attention to a power structure that has been notorious in placing women at the bottom of the social totem pole and suggests the congeneric connection between two social institutions the poem addresses: religion and marriage.
The narrator in the poem is apparently a newlywed. On her wedding day or shortly after, the narrator reflects on her marriage and on women’s lives in general. Typical of Emily Dickinson’s poems, “Title divine—is mine!” starts with affirmation. The tone in the opening of the poem is almost euphoric. The narrator is overwhelmed. She appears very excited about all the titles and accolades the wedding has bestowed upon her (“Title divine—is mine!/ The Wife—without the Sign!”), and she is thrilled about the new possibilities marriage has promised her (“Acute Degree—conferred on me—/Empress of Calvary!”). The first part of the poem, however, ends with an ominous note. The word “Calvary” reminds readers of both the place where Jesus Christ was crucified and an experience similar to that of the Crucifixion, an experience of extreme suffering. As the narrator looks beyond all...
(The entire section is 479 words.)