Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Dickinson, Emily. "Hope is the thing with feathers".

Summary and Analysis

(from American Literature I Lectures)

A poem of very abstract concept, an attempt to describe the aspect of "Hope", a definition through image. Rich connotations arise: "Hope" is described as a "thing with feathers", which could refer not only to a bird, but also to an angel.

"Hope" however does not fly, but "perches in the soul", which suggests her permanency. The notion of permanency is further supported by the image of a very "sore storm" which only could "abash the bird". "Hope" has still a bird-like quality, because it sings "without the words". The feathers may also evoke sensual associations of warmth.

The bird of "Hope" never asked for a crumb of her: on one hand it is positive ("Hope" does not need anything), on the other hand it is negative (the speaker is likely to be desperate to have somebody to need her).


  • Author

    Dickinson, Emily. (1830 - 1886).
  • Full Title

    Untitled, the first line is used for identification.
  • Form


Works Cited

Dickinson, Emily. "Hope is the thing with feathers". In: The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym et al. NY: Norton, 1989.

American Literature I Lectures.


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