We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –

My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –


by Emily Dickinson

Analysis: Speaker

This poem is about the inner life of the speaker. Many poets write about their lover, some write about nature or war. Dickinson almost always has her speakers contemplating themselves in some way. Here the speaker possesses an uncanny insight into the workings of her inner self, and is able to see the interplay of experience, emotion, and intellect with incredible clarity.

To consider just one example, the use of dashes creates the feeling that the speaker is talking. These dashes fall at places where a person might take a breath or pause to contemplate her next words. There is a chance that the speaker is a male, but a small one considering the speaker’s relationship to the male "Owner" or "Master" (they share a bed, and Dickinson was writing in the 1800s). She says she’s a gun, which is a pretty intense thing to think about. Who wakes up and says, "I feel like a sawed-off shotgun today"? Well, this speaker does. She doesn’t mess around. She can blow her top with a smile.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...