what does the poem "chartless" mean by Emily Dickinson?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    First of all, please note that Dickinson did not title her poems. Some editor did this for some of them. Her work was also edited harshly by the editors of the first editions (published after her death). Be sure to get editions published after 1955 to see her actual words!

    Your version:

    I never saw a moor,

    I never saw the sea;

    Yet now I know how the heather looks,

    And what a wave must be.

    I never spoke with God, 5

    Nor visited in Heaven;

    Yet certain am I of the spot

    As if the chart were given.

    ====================

    Dickinson's original:

    I NEVER saw a moor,

    I never saw the sea;

    Yet now I know how the heather looks,

    And what a billow be.

    I never spoke with God, 5

    Nor visited in Heaven;

    Yet certain am I of the spot

    As if the checks were given.

    ==================

    Two definitions:

    Charts (in the edited version): maps for sailors

    Checks (in the original): Color coded railway tickets indicating the direction of travel.

    The speaker (much like Dickinson herself) seems to have been a bit of a home body. But her imagination is so, so powerful, that she can see the ocean in her mind just as vividly as if she had been there.

    The second stanza suggests the same thing about God. She is certain that heaven is there--just as if she had the correct ticket stub in her hand.

    The question: Is this a religious testimony or a statement about the power of the imagination--or both?

  • chatan
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Chartless By Emily Dickinson

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    Here's an entire analysis from Shmoop.

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