Thursday, January 25, 2007

Agonized and Clear

Journal No. 6
English 48B
Dr. Scott Lankford
Author I Chose: Emily Dickinson

From the poem 67 ("Success is Counted Sweetest")

I. "Success is counted sweetest by those who ne'er succeed. To comprehend a nectar requires sorest need."

II. Emily Dickinson is talking about how it feels to want something. People most often want something that they can't and don't have.

III. This poem is specifically mentioning a defeated soldier and how he knows now what triumph and victory feels like because he will never have it - he has only loss and death.

To understand what it is that you want, you must first not have that thing. Whether it be love, items, an experience or anything else that one can possess, a person can want it more than life itself because it is something that they will never have. And yet, those who have it may never really want it at all. If you don't struggle to possess or earn something, you may not understand what it is like to truly appreciate it.

I think that this is very true in today's society. Our country is very materialistic (as I'm sure many other countries are as well) and seem to hold too much importance in things that don't mean much to our real quality of life. Do we really need to own a $1000 purse or a $50,000 vehicle to make our quality of life better? Do we really need to be defined by these things? Ultimately, what is it that does give us true happiness? Love? Money? Power? I would hope that the ultimate happiness for most people is giving something to another person. I think that our society needs more practice in this idea. We don't all need to feed a nation of starving children (although that's not a bad idea), but we could do little things to make one other person feel important and cared for. Something little like saying "thank you" to someone who has helped you in a small way. Overall, I think that this poem reflects the same ideas (ideals?)- in a convoluted sort of way. I think that it is reminding us that we cannot truly appreciate what we have if we don't struggle to attain it or obtain it in some way.

2 comments:

Scott said...

20 points. Technical reminder: remember to put a "dash" / at the end of each line of quoted poetry.

Kiersten said...

This is great info to know.