Emily Dickinson Poem Explication: Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church

Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church

Jeanine Marchese
Averett University
Professor Buksar, Eng 112


Some keep the Sabbath going to Church -
I keep it, staying at Home -
With a Bobolink for a Chorister -
And an Orchard, for a Dome -

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice -
I, just wear my Wings -
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton - sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman -
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last -
I'm going, all along.[1]

1 Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999) Written 1864.

In Emily Dickinson's poem, "Some Keep the Sabbath ...

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services with her family in a meetinghouse that eventually became administrative offices for Amherst College. In letters from November 1854, she was writing to her friend about the minister and sermons. By 1856, in a letter to her cousin, John Graves, she states that everyone else had gone to church but that she alone stayed at home and went out in "the new grass to listen to the anthems." From that time on, she kept the Sabbath by remaining at home, worshipping God in nature. Although this practice seemingly worked for Emily Dickinson, it also would have ostracized her from a large part of Amherst social life. It has been said that this poem may have been written in response to some criticism she or her family received due to her refusal to attend local meetings. [3]

In reading "Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church" she likens the components of the usual church to her own yard; the music, the church and the speaker are all there. The Chorister (choir) is a Bobolink (bird) and ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 6/9/2014 02:25:37 PM
Submitted By: jmmarchese
Category: Poetry & Poets
Words: 764
Pages: 3

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