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A Route of Evanescence

A Route of Evanescence

by Emily Dickinson

Awe and Amazement Theme

The speaker of "Route of Evanescence" is totally captured by the hummingbird. Rather than trying to tame nature, or merely describe it as beautiful, the speaker is just shocked by nature, trying to figure out what she just saw. The poem suggests that even the smallest of creatures can be interesting and exhilarating—even spiritual in their effect on us.

Questions About Awe and Amazement

  1. Is nature a kind of church in the poem, which takes its structure from a hymn?
  2. Why exactly is the hummingbird so awe-inducing?
  3. Is there any value in just being amazed? If not, why not? If so, what? 
  4. Is the poem itself amazing or "awesome," in the sense of inspiring awe? If so, how?

Chew on This

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

The poem substitutes amazement for religious experience. Preach on, Emily!

Hummingbird shummingbird. This poem is more about the mental state of being amazed than it is about nature.

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