Although Emily Elizabeth Dikinson and David Herbert Lawrence lived and wrote during two different times, and in different parts of the world, their poetry contains many similarities. At the time Dikinson was being laid to rest in Massachusetts, Lawrence was born in Nottingham, England. Also, along with the likenesses, they both have many differences. These affinities and dissimilarities can be seen in poems written by these authors dealing with snakes.
The first disparities can be seen in the meter of these two poems. Lawrence writes his poem, Snake, in a free verse style, whereas Dikinson writes her untitled poem as she did many of her poems, in iambic tetrameter and trimeter. The meter of her poem shifts in every other line from four meters to three. A narrow fellow in the grass, Occasionally rides;, exhibits this form of rhythm. Lawrences free verse style is also a characteristic of many of his works. His poem contains no conventional style of meter, only alternating long and short lines which can also be witnessed in the structure of the poem.
The rhythm and the structure of these two poems directly influence one another. Lawrence and his free verse style are reflected in the long and short lines in his poem, whereas Dikinsons structure is more of a conventional structure. Lawrence has no set number of lines per line or stanza. Dikinson, on the other hand, has four lines per stanza and although no set number of words in a line, the meter is repeated throughout the poem. Once again, we see two diverse styles from the two authors.
When we examine rhyme patterns of the two poems, we begin to see similarities between the two authors. both authors seem to ignore a strict rhyme pattern. Lawrence appears to have absolutely no rhyme pattern what so ever which once again reflects his free verse style. Dikinson as well averts from using a strong rhyme pattern. Dikinson occasionally uses partial rhyming in her poem (for example rides,is and sun,gone), a device common among many poets of the following century. One might say that Dikinsons partial rhyming, and Lawrences lack of effective rhyme might be to accommodate their strong word choice.
Word choice is another strong similitude of the two poets. Dikinson and Lawrence use very similar word choice in their respective pieces. One of the first things that we notice with Dikinsons poem is that she never uses the word snake. This can be traced to her attempt to personify the snake. She uses the word fellow, and refers to the snake as him throughout the poem in an attempt to manifest the snake. Lawrence uses very strong word choice to describe his feelings toward and because of the snake. Such words as cowardice, humility, and perversity get his point across in superb manner. The two poets use such word choice to symbolize their feelings toward the snake.
Symbolism is an area where we see both likenesses and dissimilarities between Dikinson and Lawrence. Dikinson uses visual and sensual expressions to symbolize the snake . Such words as boggy, and cold shed heartless feelings about the snake. Yet when she wants to project feelings of fondness and delight in the snake, she uses sun and cordiality to show this. Lawrence also uses strong symbolism throughout his piece. Such phrases as …fissure in the earth – wall in the gloom…, and …Into the burning bowels of this earth… symbolize the snakes evil, dark life. Most of the symbolism in Lawrences poem can be seen in his choice of colors.
Although Dikinson never actually voices any colors, they are depicted throughout her poem through abstract references. Such depiction’s are, grass, spotted shaft, and sun. All of these abstract references to color symbolize her like for the snake. Lawrence, on the other hand, uses color as a very strong way to show his symbolism. He uses such colors as yellow – brown, and earth – brown, to describe the snake. So, yet used in different ways, both authors use colors to express their sentiments for the snake.
A major part of both poems are the emotions expressed through each piece. Lawrence seems to have a deeper emotion in his work. His numerous feelings such as fright, amazement, cowardice and perversity are exhibited throughout the poem, and at the very end we see a strong emotion of pity and guilt. Dikinson also conveys strong emotions through her work as well. Her feelings of innocence and fright are passed along to the reader in the last two stanzas.
In conclusion, we see many areas of similarities and variations in these authors work. Although each author had his or her own distinct style, they shared an amazing resemblance in their work. Dikinsons combination of vivid feelings and familiar verse, and Lawrences picturesque symbolism are strong points for each author; yet living in different places and living at separate times they both seemed to share an overall analogy.