The Soul has Bandaged moments : Analysis

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The Soul has Bandaged moments

The Soul has Bandaged moments-
When too appalled to-stir
She feels some ghastly Fright come up
And stop to look at her-

Salute her-with long fingers-
Caress her freezing hair-
Sip, Goblin, from the very lips
The Lover-hovered-o'er-
Unworthy, that a thought so mean
Accost a Theme-so-fair-

The soul has moments of Escape-
When bursting all the doors-
She dances like a Bomb, abroad,
And swings upon the Hours.
As do Bee delirious borne-
Long Dungeoned from his Rose-
Touch Liberty- then know no more,
But Noon, and Paradise-

The Soul's retaken moments-
When, Felon led along
With shackles on the plumed feet,
And staples, in the Song,

The Horror welcomes her, again,
These, are not brayed of Tongue.

The Soul has Bandaged moments- When too appalled to-stir She feels some ghastly Fright come up And stop to look at her-
The Soul has Bandaged moments

Introduction and Critical Analysis:

      'The Soul has Bandaged moments' this poem is inspired by the fashion for the Gothic cultivation of sensibility through terror. The horror, the goblin, is the dominant image that dominated the Gothic literature. The poet presents a comparison between the life of freedom and the life of imprisonment, horror and happiness and repression and exhilaration. Horror is the dominating image in this poem.

      The poem is the analysis of poetic inspiration, its loss and its joy. The horror is one of the poetic inactivity. The poet has moments when she is captured by the terror of the failure of inspiration moments when the liberated imagination soars in unrestricted joy and exultation; moments when the consciousness of failure returns to inhibit inspiration and creativity.

      An injured soul is like a patient who has been bandaged all over the body It is at this moment that nightmares often happen. The sensation is similar to that where some dreadful horror approaches a woman, who cannot stir, caresses her hair and kisses those lips of which her true lover thought himself unworthy. Each person also has moments when the soul feels liberated. In those moments all the potential energy of the soul whether positive o destructive is released. This sensation is that of a bee who has been kept away from the nectar of a rose for a long time. When she is freed, all inhibitions are removed and he becomes drugged with physical and emotional pleasure. Each person, however, has moments when the soul is recaptured, is brought back to the original horror. It is these moments which stop creativity and inhibit inspiration it is these moments which are impossible to interpret. The soul a person much like 'he' poet, goes through periods of bitter condemnation and then of joyful release, but when she returns to the oppressed state, things are worse than ever.

Use of Images:

      The poem describes the terror of the specifically female soul. It is full of images of confinement and mutation. The speaker stands for the life of immobility and lifelessness. She is incapable of showing any sign of resentment or protest against her plight. The expression 'ghastly Fright' stands for specter of death and the expression "the moment of escape is the symbol of the release of sexual energy.

Explanation with Reference to Context:

The Soul has Bandaged moments-
When too appalled to stir-
She feels some ghastly Fright
And stop to look at her-

Salute her-with long fingers-
Caress her freezing hair-
Sip, Goblin, from the very lips
The Lover -hovered-o'er-
Unworthy, that a thought so mean
Accost a Theme-so-fair-

      Dickinson presents a comparative picture of the life of freedom and the life of imprisonment in this poem. She also draws a line of demarcation between happiness and horror in it. She traces the impact of horror on the poetic process.

      The poem discusses the damaging impact of horror on a poetic mind. Any damage to the poetic sensitivity hampers its creative potential. It is like an injured person who is constrained to act because of the severe hurt caused by injury. The fear of the unknown is suicidal for creativity. A fear-ridden poetic mind consciously overlooks the presence of fear to avoid any kind of loss.

      A terrified woman is caught unaware and fails to act in this trapped situation. She cannot stir and caresses her hair and kisses those lips of which her true lover thought himself unworthy. The deathly emissary is like a lover and salutes her sensuously with long fingers. The myth of romantic love is exposed in this part of the poem.

The soul has moments of Escape-
When bursting all the doors-
She dances like a Bomb, aboard,
And swings upon the Hours,

As do the Bee-delirious borne
Long Dungeoned from his Rose-
Touch Liberty -then know no more,
But Noon, and Paradise.

      The presence of fear has a damaging impact on the poetic mind. It suffers from he sense of isolation and imprisonment. An injured soul is like a patient who has been badly bandaged all over the body by a severe hurt. A fear-ridden mind loses the capacity to act or create. He suffers from the sense of acute helplessness.

      Each person also has moments when the soul feels liberated. Soul cannot be imprisoned for ever. In those moments the potential energy of the soul whether positive or negative is released. It is like the release of an unlimited energy at the time of its explosion. The speaker is no more restrained and contained. She bursts the doors and unaware of limits and borders, finds ecstasy and freedom.

      The poet compares the release of the soul to a bee which has been denied the nectar of a rose for a long time. When she is released, all inhibitions are removed and she becomes drugged with physical and emotional pleasure. Her moment of escape is visualized as sexual energy released, like the bee long kept from the rose who touches.

The Soul's retaken moments
When, Felon led along,
With shackles on the plumed feet,
And staples, in the Song

The Horror welcomes her, again,
These, are not brayed of Tongue.

      An injured soul is like a patient who has been bandaged all over the body. It loses the capacity to act in a creative manner. It also suffers from the sense of fear which is never lifted from the subconscious mind of its victim. The soul gets back its energy as it is released from its confinement.

      Each person, however, has moments when the soul is recaptured, is brought to the original terror. It is these moments which stop creativity and inhibit. lt is these moments which are impossible to interpret. The soul, a person much like the poet, goes through periods of bitter condemnation and then of joyful release, but when she returns to the oppressed state, things are worse than ever.

Annotations:

'Soul' - individual psyche, spiritual being. 'Bandaged' - it is a piece of cloth used for binding a wound. 'Moments' - points of time when an injured person is constrained to act because of an injury. 'Appalled' - terrified. 'To stir' - to act. 'She feels' - the soul is pretty aware of the situation. 'Ghastly' - terrifying.
'Fright' - fear. 'Salute' - welcome with words or gestures. 'With long fingers' - suggests emaciation and conjure up the idea of the fingers of a ghoul. 'Caress' - to fondle in a loving manner. 'Freezing'-extremely cold. 'Sip' - to drink in small quantity. 'Goblin' - terrifying cunning spirits. 'Hovered- over' - hesitated over. The lover, conscious of his unworthiness, shows his reluctance to kiss his beloved. 'That a thought so mean' - it is a low thought to kiss his beloved. 'Accost' - approach. 'Theme' - subject. 'Moments of escape' - it refers to the time of release from confinement or prison. 'Bursting' - breaking up. 'All the doors' - all the restrictions to prevent the release of the soul. 'She dances' - the soul dances freely. 'Bomb' - refers to the concentrated destructive energy. 'Abroad' - distant or remote. 'Swings upon' - tosses backward and forward like a hanging object. 'Delirious' - a fit of madness or delusion. 'Borne' - carried. 'Long Dungeoned' - period of long confinement. 'Rose' - the source of nectar. 'Retaken moments' - times of recapture. 'Felon' - criminal. The imprisoned soul looks like a recaptured criminal led back to prison. 'Led along' - carried along. 'Shackles - fetters tied to wrist or ankle. 'Plumed feet' - winged feet which are capable of free movement. 'Slaples' - metallic fastenings. 'Horror' - personification of terror. 'Not brayed of tongue' - not soudly expressed with a harsh grating noise. Such dreadful moments defy analysis.

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