Emily Dickinson: "Poem 288"

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – Too?

Then there’s a pair of us?

Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

 

How dreary – To be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog —

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!

 

TASKS

  1. Consider the first stanza of the poem. Is it possible to be “Nobody?” How is Dickinson twisting the usual meaning of this word? What is she trying to express by doing this?
  2. In the second stanza the word “Somebody” is contrasted with the first stanza’s “Nobody.” Who is she speaking of now? Can you think of any examples of “Somebodies” in today’s society?
  3. This is a poem about fame and recognition. Sum up what Dickinson is saying here, in your own words.
  4. Do you agree with the speaker’s views about fame and recognition (Are you – Nobody – Too!)?

fame