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I measure every Grief I meet

I measure every Grief I meet


by Emily Dickinson

I measure every Grief I meet Theme of Exploration

The speaker of "I measure every Grief I meet" spends a great deal of time wondering about other people's emotions. Not only is she exploring their grief, she is also exploring several other questions: What is the nature of grief? How do others experience grief? Can grief ever end, or does it last forever? What are the different reasons that people experience grief? These questions are never answered completely; rather, the speaker explores various possibilities without ever closing in on definite answers.

Questions About Exploration

  1. What is the speaker searching for? Does she find it by the end of the poem?
  2. What is the role of the imagination and exploration in the poem? In what lines do you see her doing the most exploring and imagining? 
  3. After all of her exploration, does the speaker discover anything? If so, what?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

While the poem begins with a tone of certainty, it ends in uncertainty, showing that exploration only leads to, well, more exploration.

Exploring the sadness of others is a way to ease the speaker's own sadness. Creepy? Yes. But effective.

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