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I like to see it lap the Miles

I like to see it lap the Miles


by Emily Dickinson

Lines 4-7 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Line 4-5

And then — prodigious step Around a Pile of Mountains —

  • After its pit stop, the train goes onward, to step effortlessly around mountains – not just one, but a "pile."
  • We have a great sense of just how massive this locomotive is so far; it's large enough to require tanks of food, and to skip around mountain ranges. 
  • Despite all the animal-like descriptions, this train is certainly no real animal…

Lines 6-7

And supercilious peer
In Shanties — by the sides of Roads —

  • The train "superciliously" (that is, haughtily or condescendingly) looks into the ramshackle buildings by the roadside.
  • Clearly, the speaker can't get enough of personification. The train isn't just a big iron thing—it actually has a personality. 
  • We think that by giving the train a snooty attitude, the speaker might be telling us that she's not totally sold on this new technology. What do you think?

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