The Heart's Unfettered Pulse: Embracing Passion in “Wild Nights! Wild Nights!” - Emily Dickinson

American literature essay. Literary analysis of works and characters - Sykalo Evgen 2023

The Heart's Unfettered Pulse: Embracing Passion in “Wild Nights! Wild Nights!”
Emily Dickinson

Desire leaps off the page in Emily Dickinson's "Wild Nights! Wild Nights!", creating a picture of intense longing that goes beyond decency and tradition. Dickinson encourages us to embrace the wildness and intensity of human desire by celebrating the unbridled pulse of the heart through her distinctive dash-laden language and vivid imagery.

The Invocation of the Wild:

With the first line of the poem, "Wild nights! Wild nights!" the world of wild passions and primordial urges suddenly opens up for us. The word "Wild" is used repeatedly to highlight the speaker's wild emotions, which stand in sharp contrast to the restrained and frequently suppressed world of Victorian society. This first sentence is an affirmation of freedom, a rejection of social norms that restrict people's ability to express their emotions.

The Desire Metaphors:

Dickinson skillfully uses analogies to convey the speaker's intense yearning. It is said that the "heart" is like a "port," an impatient ship longing to enter its beloved's harbor. The "wind" turns into a "rioter," reflecting the speaker's turbulent feelings. There is not much opportunity for doubt regarding the speaker's desire because these pictures are so strong and vivid.

Past the Shroud of Shame:

The poem recognizes the possible negative effects such unchecked passion may have on society. The power of "shame," which has the ability to "hide" and "bury" the flames of desire, is mentioned by the speaker. Dickinson, however, will not allow shame to rule supreme. With its fierce shout against tyranny, "But still it leaps! It leaps!" celebrates the inalienable right of the heart to freely express its impulses.

The Strength of a Common Interest:

The speaker's yearning extends beyond a single instance. The lyric "I'll make the globe my pillow then / And tuck the storms in for a nap" alludes to a dream for a future where people embrace and enjoy wildness together, where one's passion is experienced together. This is a daring and liberating vision of a world united in unbridled enthusiasm.

The Symphony Left Unfinished:

There is a seductive uncertainty in the poem's conclusion. Amidst this intense swirl of emotion, the reader is left suspended as the sentence "Wild nights! Wild nights!" bounces back. The speaker's desire cannot be satisfied, nor are there any simple solutions. However, the poem's strength ultimately stems from this uncertainty. Instead of offering consolation or resolution, it challenges us to face the unadulterated, throbbing force of human desire.

"Wild Nights! Wild Nights!" by Emily Dickinson is a rebellious ode to ardor. It is an exhortation to liberate oneself from social restraints, embrace one's inner wildness, and indulge in the raw intensity of desire. Dickinson reminds us that true emotion, even in its wild form, has the capacity to ignite our souls and that the heart, like the wind, cannot be controlled through her audacious imagery and uncompromising language.

Further Analysis Points:

The speaker's hurry and breathlessness are reflected in the poem's short lines and erratic meter.
Dashes are used to generate a sense of anticipation and urgency that mirrors the speaker's desire's emotional rollercoaster.
Through a variety of interpretations—psychological, social, and philosophical—the poem provides deep insights into the human experience of passion and desire.