Romanticism in “Why do I love You, Sir? ” Many know of Emily Dickinson reclusive behavior, but very few know about her brief engagement to George Could, a student at Amherst College. Unfortunately, her wealthy father broke their engagement off because he was Just a poor student. It is believed that this disappointment triggered her initial withdrawal from society and the start of her life as a writer. She lived without marrying and devoted a significant amount of time to writing poetry and letters during a time now known as the
American Romanticism movement. This movement affected Emily writing and is evident in much of her poetry. Emily Dickinson displays many of the characteristics of the American Romantic period in her poem “Why do I Love You, sir? ” First, an obvious connection to American Romanticism in this poem is Emily unconventional punctuation, short lines, and capitalization. Formerly, poems were structured strictly to fit into heroic couplets. In diverging from the ordinary, Emily used romanticism to destroy the authoritarian structure and give way for allowing he poet and reader to feel the way that each individual felt.
With no guidelines, one is allowed to be free and let things flow into their ideal shape of religion. For example, the very first stanza, envoy do I love’ You, Sir? ” is oddly punctuated. The narrator is seemingly repeating a question that has been questioned of her which is suggested by the quotation marks around “why do I love. ” This leads way that the narrator is quoting someone. Secondly, Emily use of nature to explain her simple answer “Because—” is also characteristic of the American Romantic poets.
Romantics love nature because of its sensibility and connection to basic emotions. Nature’s design is straightforward. Built to survive and reproduce are its only goals. There are there Just because. Emily first simplistic response is “The Wind does not require the Grass/ To Answer— Wherefore when He passes/ She cannot keep Her place”. Emily likens herself to blades of grass that are quivered by the wind. Just as when Sir passes she is shaken with Joy Just by his presence. Additionally, the wind does not solicit the grass to tell why it was affected.
However, the wind did so inquire the answer would be because. Just as simple as can be Just like nature intended. Later on in the poem, Emily brings up lightening another major player in Mother Nature to further emphasize her argument. Lightening also doe not question why it’s impulsive flash of brightness causes an eye to close, “Because He knows it cannot speak—“. Still if it could express its feeling it will answer because. Thirdly, individualism is key to romantic poets. Her feelings are evident for however this Sir is and she is free in expressing her emotions.
Whether Sir is God or secret crush, the reader’s own interpretation is vital in this decision. The capitalization of he is significant in the fact that she is most likely referring to God. It is almost impossible to explain why someone has an affinity for a certain someone. Only nature can explain most simply and it answer is “Because—“. Either way you cannot explain factually why you believe in God or why you had a love at first sight moment. Ultimately nature decides it all. It is as simple as “The Sunrises—Sire completely Me—/Because He’s Sunrise—and I see?/Therefore—Then—/l love
In conclusion, red is to a rose as Emily Dickinson is to Romantic poet. Emily encompasses all that is Romantic. She was original by revoking the structure of everyday poems of times before, using nature to explore feelings, and use nature as ways to exemplify the things we do. She also made the individual important and the main character to her poems. Overall, this poem is a great example of the legacy Emily Dickinson left to American literature. Works Cited Dickinson, Emily. “Why Do I Love You, Sir? “. Poem Hunter. Poem Hunter. N. D. Tuesday. 9 July 2013
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