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A Day (Poem) Class 12

 A Day

by Emily Dickinson


About the author

One of the most eminent American poets from the nineteenth century, Emily Dickinson’s (1830-1886) poetry was heavily influenced by the Metaphysical poets of seventeenth-century England, as well as her reading of the Book of Revelation and her upbringing in a Puritan New England town. These upbringings inculcated in her Calvinist, orthodox, and conservative approach to Christianity. Dickinson and Walt Whitman are considered the founders of a uniquely American poetic voice. While Dickinson was extremely prolific as a poet her regularly enclosed poems in letters to friends she was not publicly recognized during her lifetime. However, she has been steadily gaining popularity through her posthumously published poems.

In her poem “A Day”, Dickinson, through the use of brilliant imageries and symbols, describes a beautiful day that leads the children from innocence to experience.


The poem "A Day" has been composed by Emily Dickinson. She was an American poet. In this poem she describes the rising and setting of the sun. These two natural processes are delivered with both literal and symbolic way. On a literal level, it is told through the perspective of an innocent child. The child in his innocence expresses his views on sunrise and sunset. The whole poem symbolises the transition from life to death.

Through the use of brilliant imagery and symbols, she describes a beautiful day that leads the children from innocence to experience. The poem begins with the speaker declaring how the sun rises or day begins. The sunrays are presented as a series of ribbons at a time. With the sunlight, the steeples of the churches are covered with a deep violet colour like amethyst. The news of sunrise spreads so fast like squirrels’ running.

In the second stanza, the hills are personified. The hills untie their bonnets. Before sunrise, the hills are wearing the cap of mist which is cleared by the sunrays and its heat. As the sun rises, the mist which is the metaphorical bonnet, over the hills evaporates. This inspires the bobolinks to begin their morning song. She thinks herself that it is because of sunrise. Sunrise is the symbol of birth or the beginning of life. It is the speaker’s innocence to to understand the worldly activities. She only sees the beautiful things of life.

In the third stanza, the speaker becomes less confident describing the activity of sunset. She says that she is unaware to describe the mysterious sunset. There appears a purple stile. The yellow boys and girls climb the purple stile. 

When the day ends, the yellow boys and girls are led away by a dominie. The dominie gently puts up the evening bars and takes the children away. This means they are taken to the dark place. The darkness or the sunset signifies death or the end of life. The evening bars symbolize a sense of security. This gives the reader hope.

Different literary devices like symbolism, alliteration, metaphor, simile, personification etc. are found in the poem. 

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