kinson and LawrenceSimilarities and Variations in the Writings of Dickinson and Lawrence
Although Emily Elizabeth Dickinson and David Herbert Lawrence lived and
wrote during two different times, and in different parts of the world, their
poetry contains many similarities. At the time Dickinson was being laid to rest
in Massachusetts, Lawrence was born in Nottingham, England. Also, along with the
likenesses, they both have many differences. These affinities and
dissimilarities can be seen in poems written by these authors dealing with
The first disparities can be seen in the meter of these two poems.
Lawrence writes his poem, Snake, in a free verse style, whereas Dickinson writes
her untitled poem as she did many of her poems, in iambic tetrameter and
trimeter. The meter of her poem shifts in every other line from four meters to
three. A narrow fellow in the grass, Occasionally rides;, exhibits this form
of rhythm. Lawrence’s free verse style is also a characteristic of many of his
works. His poem contains no conventional style of meter, only alternating long
and short lines which can also be witnessed in the structure of the poem.
The rhythm and the structure of these two poems directly influence one
another. Lawrence and his free verse style are reflected in the long and short
lines in his poem, whereas Dickinson’s structure is more of a conventional
structure. Lawrence has no set number of lines per line or stanza. Dickinson, on
the other hand, has four lines per stanza and although no set number of words in
a line, the meter is repeated throughout the poem. Once again, we see two
diverse styles from the two authors.
When we examine rhyme patterns of the two poems, we begin to see
similarities between the two authors. both authors seem to ignore a strict rhyme
pattern. Lawrence appears to have absolutely no rhyme pattern what so ever which
once again reflects his free verse style. Dickinson as well averts from using a
strong rhyme pattern. Dickinson occasionally uses partial rhyming in her poem
(for example rides,is and sun,gone), a device common among many poets of
the following century. One might say that Dickinson’s partial rhyming, and
Lawrence’s lack of effective rhyme might be to accommodate their strong word
Word choice is another strong similitude of the two poets. Dickinson and
Lawrence use very similar word choice in their respective pieces. One of the
first things that we notice with Dickinson’s poem is that she never uses the
word snake. This can be traced to her attempt to personify the snake. She uses
the word fellow, and refers to the snake as him throughout the poem in an
attempt to manifest the snake. Lawrence uses very strong word choice to describe
his feelings toward and because of the snake. Such words as cowardice,
humility, and perversity get his point across in superb manner. The two poets
use such word choice to symbolize their feelings toward the snake.
Symbolism is an area where we see both likenesses and dissimilarities
between Dickinson and Lawrence. Dickinson uses visual and sensual expressions to
symbolize the snake . Such words as boggy, and cold shed heartless feelings
about the snake. Yet when she wants to project feelings of fondness and delight
in the snake, she uses sun and cordiality to show this. Lawrence also uses
strong symbolism throughout his piece. Such phrases as …fissure in the earth
– wall in the gloom…, and …Into the burning bowels of this earth…
symbolize the snake’s evil, dark life. Most of the symbolism in Lawrence’s poem
can be seen in his choice of colors.
Although Dickinson never actually voices any colors, they are depicted
throughout her poem through abstract references. Such depiction’s are, grass,
spotted shaft, and sun. All of these abstract references to color symbolize
her like for the snake. Lawrence, on the other hand, uses color as a very strong
way to show his symbolism. He uses such colors as yellow – brown, and earth –
brown, to describe the snake. So, yet used in different ways, both authors use
colors to express their sentiments for the snake.
A major part of both poems are the emotions expressed through each piece.
Lawrence seems to have a deeper emotion in his work. His numerous feelings such
as fright, amazement, cowardice and perversity are exhibited throughout the poem,
and at the very end we see a strong emotion of pity and guilt. Dickinson also
conveys strong emotions through her work as well. Her feelings of innocence and
fright are passed along to the reader in the last two stanzas.
In conclusion, we see many areas of similarities and variations in these
authors’ work. Although each author had his or her own distinct style, they
shared an amazing resemblance in their work. Dickinson’s combination of vivid
feelings and familiar verse, and Lawrence’s picturesque symbolism are strong
points for each author; yet living in different places and living at separate
times they both seemed to share an overall analogy.