Like a green anaconda found deep in the Amazon jungle, the snake in this poem is a biggie. In fact, he is the biggie. The way you look at the snake really colors your whole approach to the poem. For that reason, we can say that this "Fellow" is an important symbol in the poem, but we can't say that there is one clear interpretation as to what, exactly he symbolizes. Instead, we'll present you with a variety of possible readings. Feel free to pick and choose as you see fit! Ready? Okay…
Cue up the song “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones. Our legless friend has a long history and a bad rap when it comes to literature. The poor guy gets associated with Satan one time in the Book of Genesis and he is seen as an allusion to Satan’s corruption of Eve in the Garden of Eden for the rest of time.
Coming from a religious household, Dickinson would certainly be aware of the biblical symbolism of the snake, but that's not all this "Fellow" can represent here. There are those that argue that the animal (with its resemblance to male body parts) might also be a stand in for sex and sexuality.
Finally, there are those who say, "You know, sometimes a snake is just a snake." By that token, we can look at this guy as one of "Nature's People," a representative of the natural world, yet repeatedly endowed in the poem with human qualities.
Frankly, a case can be made that Dickinson riffing on all of these associations. How so? Well, read on.