Dickinson can be quite difficult to understand, but this poem is not too hard.
For our purposes, I’m going to use Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the thing with feathers,” as it represents the level of poem you would deal with in a typical 100 level English course.
"He chased me round and round the place, with a clasp-knife, calling me the angel of death and saying he would kill me and I couldn't come for him no more.
I begged, and told him I was only Huck, but he laughed such a screechy laugh, and roared and cussed, and kept on chasing me up.
Line by line observations/questions Line 1: A strange thing to say, but not hard to imagine. Line 3: Yep, she’s definitely comparing it to a bird, as it sings. Also, notice that I made note of words I didn’t know.
Hope has feathers, so maybe she’s comparing it to a bird. And it makes sense that the tune would have no words, since birds don’t really talk. If you’re even sort of unsure of the meaning of the word, especially when reading a poem, underline it or mark it some way and then look it up and write the definition somewhere on the same page as the poem so that you can refer to it later (this is also just a good way to expand your vocabulary, an important part of learning new things).Though an adult might have deciphered the truth a little quicker through past experiences encountering artificial fruit; nonetheless, without observing such fruit before, Huck is able to distinguish. A quote from it even appeared in one of my favorite Arthur episodes.Pap hallucinates Huck as an "angel of death," and in a sense his retrospective narrator self is a spiritual presence in the scene between his younger self and Pap.On a table in the middle of the room was a kind of a lovely crockery basket that had apples and oranges and peaches and grapes piled up in it which was much redder and yellower and prettier than real ones is, but they warn't real, because you could see where pieces had got chipped off and showed the white chalk or whatever it was, underneath. Another was "Friendship's Offering," full of beautiful stuff and poetry; but I didn't read the poetry. Before I can explain what close reading is, we need to choose a text to work with (a “text” is a term English majors use to refer to written work they’re analyzing). I’m using an English paper here as my example since that’s the topic I have the most experience with, but with a bit of adaptation you could apply this method to most other humanities essays you’d have to write.He came to the conclusion that "they warn't real." Twain craftily gives Huck greater narrative authority in the reader's eye.The reader is shown Huck's ability to rightfully distinguish between real and unreal, true and false when it comes to appearances.This might also explain why he relates in a matter-of-fact way the story of his father trying to kill him.Though Huck is describing the chase in a rapid, vivid play-by-play, which the reader gets a sense of from the frequent temporal clues, his nonchalance adds a disturbing tone to the scene, as if Pap's terrible abuse of him has always been commonplace.