In the poem ‘After great pain, a formal feeling comes’ Emily Dickinson explains the reader the feelings that come up after great pain. This poem describes a great emotional hurt, a great tragedy that has led to the heartache. Emily Dickinson used special imagery to describe the feeling and situations as best as she could. The first line of the poem contains the hidden subject of the poem and is the only line in a poem with an abstract statement.
The poem is about the pain, but not a physical pain; it is more an emotional pain, which links to the feelings of sorrow, sadness, disappointment, and fear. Dickinson writes: ‘the nerves sit ceremonious like tombs’, which can be understood that the nerves represent people gathered together after a funeral. All people wear black clothes, so they look like tombs. That is why the word ‘tomb’ can be applied to describe a person who has just suffered from a great pain, and who can’t experience any other emotions, because the heart still feels as dead. A tomb has very similar features of deadness, like quietness and stillness. The readers of the poem can feel that this feeling is very strong, and the author lives through life not feeling anything.
Dickinson in detail describes the stages of pain she feels in the poem. She explains what stages the mind and body go through when experiencing pain. The first stage is when nerves turn off and no longer send the message to the rest of the body. Then the heart stops feeling emotions and body movements become robotized. Dickinson detailed one important stage of emotional pain that allows the mourner to go through the emotional trauma, when the emotions and the brain are not engaged.
If you make an analysis of Dickinson’s poetry, we can see that the word ‘death’ together with other related notions, like Dead, Perish, Grave, Graveyard, and Tomb are be seen in almost in every fifth poem by Dickinson. Dickinson had a great interest in death as a process and a phenomenon. Death for her was the main character of most of her poems.
The main character’s unemotional heart makes her doubt the God and the whole life. Author’s questions about religion and faith didn’t get answers during all her life. It seems that she was ready to doubt the God, the death just made it easier. Dickinson can’t understand why God would take such a precious thing away from life. Dickinson probably has never gotten the answer to this question. In the poem she fights in her own mind, she tries to understand which emotions she needs to feel, and which need to be rejected. She doesn’t know how to deal with death, how to learn to accept it as an essential and natural part of life. These questions are the ones she wants to find answers to while talking with her God.
In the poem ‘After great pain, a formal feeling comes’ Emily Dickinson explains the reader the feelings that come up after great pain. This poem describes a great emotional hurt, a great tragedy that has led to the heartache. Emily Dickinson used special imagery to describe the feeling and situations as best as she could.