Study Guide

From Blank to Blank Isolation

By Emily Dickinson

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The speaker of "From Blank to Blank—" describes wandering through endless stretches of nothingness. She looks one way—nothing. She looks another way—nothing. Up, down, sideways—all nothing. This is about as isolated as person can possibly get, right? There aren't any other people anywhere to be seen. There's not even any scenery to keep her company. She's totally and completely alone. She's got nobody but herself, and apparently she's not much company. Overall, the poem uses this image of a person lost in nothingness as a metaphor for the intense loneliness that we all feel once in a while, which can happen even when we're standing in a crowd of people.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Does the speaker ever show any hope of escaping her isolation? Why, or why not?
  2. How does the image of a person wandering through nothingness help get across the theme of isolation?
  3. Which do you think is the most powerful image of loneliness in the poem? Why did you chose the one you did?

Chew on This

Despite the fact that the speaker seems majorly depressed about her isolation, she still keeps moving, which shows us that she has some hope.

The speaker feels totally trapped and doesn't think she'll ever not be alone—bummer.

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