Study Guide

I taste a liquor never brewed Drugs and Alcohol

By Emily Dickinson

Drugs and Alcohol

We have to admit that the drug and alcohol content in "I taste a liquor never brewed" is pretty light. However, what Dickinson has to say about inebriation is still important. She seems to be saying that the drunkenness that comes from alcohol is man-made and artificial. Though it's pleasant in some ways, it just can't compare to what can be found out in nature because what we have in nature has been given to us by the greatest bartender of all time: God. As indicated by the final stanza, it pleases those higher beings to see us revel in the natural beauty of the world around us, and thus, by extension, it probably pleases the "big guy" as well.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. How exactly can the speaker feel drunk without actually consuming alcohol?
  2. What does it say about the speaker that she will continue "drinking" even after the bees and butterflies have gone home?
  3. Who are the "Landlords" and how do they control the flow of this "alcohol"?
  4. How do the word choices in the poem help illustrate the idea of drunkenness?

Chew on This

Foxglove, being a poisonous plant (and not this), is used specifically in the poem to warn against overindulgence, even though the speaker does not seem to heed this warning herself.

Nice try, but it is impossible for the poet to express her feelings through the metaphor of drunkenness if she has never experienced alcoholic inebriation first hand.

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