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“A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” by Emily Dickinson

The poem “A narrow fellow in the Grass” by Emily Dickinson refers to a snake or other reptile that she came across through childhood and adulthood. Although the poem’s speaker never actually uses the word “snake,” the scene is familiar enough for most readers to relate to it. The snake is a magical animal that moves like a ghost through the tall grass. The speaker sees only it’s scaly skin, but evidence of its presence it’s notorious by the separate grass. The poem illustrates how snakes can be deceptive. The word "barefoot" makes the speaker seem more exposed to the potential threat of the snake. The snake, being one of the most remarkable creatures in the natural world, has been a symbol of betrayal as per the Bible. Even though, speaker claims to be a lover of nature, it seems that the snake, although being a fascinating creature, it is impossible to love. In fact, the speaker responds to the snake as if it were a living appearance of the terror of the unknown, because it is both amazing and frightening.

The speaker of the poem is Dickinson herself presenting the point of view of when she was a child, but she is now an adult looking back.
Appearance versus reallity

Emily Dickinson recalls her childhood sense of adventure. She remembers how nature intrigued her. Growing up in a century that had fixed images of what children did, she risked more rather than typically feminine in her benefit. Dickinson was curious, brave and natural in her feelings. In this poem Dickinson show us how the creatures of nature deserve our respect, snake are wild and independent, and they enjoy their own special environment, for example a ‘Boggy acre’ with grass. She experienced fear whenever she met a snake in the meadow: ‘a tighter breathing’. As I mentioned before the speaker never used the word snake but she uses words like ‘narrow’, ‘spotted shaft’ and ‘Whip lash’ to indicate the appearance of the creature.


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