Study Guide

Apparently with no surprise Man and the Natural World

By Emily Dickinson

Man and the Natural World

Sure, "Apparently with no surprise" is a nature poem, but don't go expecting a peaceful walk through a happy field. There are happy flowers here, but they're happy flowers who are getting beheaded. Yup, that's a little dark. This poem is unafraid to show the brutal side of nature right along with the beautiful. What's ambiguous in the poem is whether or not the speaker sees the destructive side of nature as something we should be mad about, or as something we should just accept. Really, you could read it several different ways. Maybe the speaker is angry about the fate of the flowers, maybe she's sad, maybe she's resigned, or maybe she's using it as a metaphor to question the nature of all life on earth.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. In what ways does the poem personify elements of nature? How do these moments of personification help advance the poem's meaning?
  2. What is the speaker's attitude toward nature as a whole? Explain your answer.
  3. This poem is about more than frostbitten flowers, right? What might all this nature-y stuff symbolize?

Chew on This

The poem shows the natural world as cruel and uncaring.

The poem depicts the inevitable cycles life and death that exist in the natural world with a sense of acceptance.

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