Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant || Summary and Analysis

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Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant- Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth's superb surprise
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

Summary:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise.

      The poetess stresses the need of telling and discovering truth in life. It aims at unearthing the hidden truth which lies beyond its outward manifestation. An artist must aim at the discovery of real knowledge and inner beauty. The real truth can be found indirectly and not directly because of its complicated nature. It is only the Method of Indirection which can reveal the hidden truth only.

      The poetess argues that man must deal with truth in an indirect manner. It is based on the factual presentation of the life observed and without any distortion. This is the most dependable means of discovering hidden knowledge and beauty. The circuit-world is finite and man-made. On the other hand, the circumference is the infinite world which consists of heaven immortality and infinity

All Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.

      The poetess stresses the need of discovering the hidden truth in life. It helps in revealing the hidden area of knowledge and inner beauty. It is the indirect method - not the direct method - which brings us closer to the absolute truth. Moreover, the unknown is known through the known or familiar only. Truth deals with fact and not fiction.

      The fear of lightening comes to an end as the children are given sound arguments about this phenomenon. It is further argued that truth is revealed slowly and steadily. Man can never grasp truth instantly because of its deceptive and complicated nature. Truth cannot be comprehended directly but indirectly only because of its  incomprehensible and inaccessible nature.

Critical Analysis:

      The poetess gives us a novel way of telling the truth. For Dickinson, truth cannot be told directly but it will lead to erroneous conclusion. The best option is to tell the truth indirectly for comprehending its real nature. It is this Method of Indirection that leads to the discovery of real knowledge and inner beauty.

      The 'circuit world' is finite and can be grasped by putting in consistent efforts. It is not as complicated as the 'circumference' which lies beyond the material world. It is complicated because it includes heaven, immortality and infinity. Being mystical in its nature, it cannot be explained directly but indirectly by means of divine vision only. It defies any rational analysis.

      Truth is revealed by and by because haste of any kind will lead to the falsification of fact. It needs a lot of patience and coolness of mind for the discovery of the ultimate truth. Therefore, truth must be approached indirectly for realizing its real value.

      It is typical for Dickinson that experience takes the form of a sudden illumination, which would imply a center in which the insight originates. Since the center itself cannot be grasped, Dickinson focuses on its circumference, which expresses the eternity surrounding the center as well as the unfulfilled desire of reaching that center. Circumference is internal as well as external; it is at work inside the imagination as well as outside it. Since this center, namely, God, is not fully accessible to her, the poet approaches it indirectly by illuminating its circumference. Since trying to present the center or truth straightforwardly would be futile, she uses a slanted perspective that might reveal what would otherwise remain hidden.

      By the only means she can employ to explore this truth is an approach characterized by 'circuit' and 'slant'. While the center would express fall circumference expresses doubt.

Annotations:

'Truth' - refers to the ultimate truth ie God and all else is false. 'Slant' - it shows that truth can be revealed by adopting an indirect perspective. 'Circuit' - The discovery of truth is an arduous process which is very deceptive. There cannot be any short-cut for the discovery of truth. 'Infirm delight' - poor satisfaction. 'Lightning' - causes fear in the minds of innocent children because of their lack of perception and proper guidance. 'Eased' - refers to the fear caused by lightening which can be overcome by proper argument. 'Explanation' - reasoning and sound interpretation. 'Dazzle' - reveal. Truth is discovered by logical reasoning. The discovery of truth is a time-consuming process because the nature of truth is highly deceptive.

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