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My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –

My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –


by Emily Dickinson

Stanza II Summary

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

Lines 5-8

And now We roam in Sovereign Woods –
And now We hunt the Doe –
And every time I speak for Him –
The Mountains straight reply –

  • From here on, this poem is easier to understand, especially since we’ve sorted out the particulars of who’s doing what.
  • To make things even easier, we’re going to choose one of the possible interpretations of this poem.
  • In our interpretation "The Owner" is the speaker’s anger. (It isn’t the only way of interpreting "The Owner," though it is probably the most popular one.)
  • In line 5, the speaker and her anger (who carried her away in the first stanza) are roaming in the woods – a decidedly cryptic line – and hunting the Doe.
  • The use of "Sovereign" could be invoking its meaning as "supreme" – they are all-powerful together. It could also mean "independent," in the sense that they are not dependent on anyone. In any case, "sovereign" generally alludes to a place of power.
  • This also continues the analogy of the speaker’s life as a loaded gun. When someone harbors a lot of rage, they can be as dangerous as a loaded gun – ready to blow.
  • Here, she hunts the doe, an image of stalking and violence.
  • Line 7 and 8 together describe how the speaker "speaks" for her anger, which is a way of saying she expresses it.
  • The mountains reply could refer to an echo. Expressing anger that is like a loaded gun would certainly cause an echo.
  • We should say that our references to the anger interpretation are just that – one interpretation among many.

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