Study Guide

There's been a Death, in the Opposite House Calling Card

By Emily Dickinson

Calling Card

Telling the Truth, But Telling it Slant

Who would ever think that a poem about observing the signs of death from the safety of one's own house would be written by the famously reclusive, infamously morbid Belle of Amherst? Anybody who's read a poem by Dickinson, that's who.

At the first sight of those dashes (are they ems or ens or mad? Find out here) and those odd caps standing in the middle of the sentence, announcing nouns and other important words, you know you're in the presence of this exceptional poet who didn't give a Kittie for conformity—or Fig for formalism—a s it was taught. She just set her sights on her subject and spoke her own truth.

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