THE SOUL SELECTS HER OWN SOCIETY BY EMILY DICKINSON
“The Soul selects her own society” was written by Emily Dickinson presumably in 1862. It was published in Poems of Emily Dickinson in 1890. This poem explores the inner psyche world of the poet with the usage of dashes and capital letters.The rhyme scheme of this three short stanzas poem is abab. Altogether this poem is filled with imagery, extended metaphor, slant rhyme, simile, and repetition.
The Soul selects her own Society — Then — shuts the Door — To her divine Majority — Present no more —
Unmoved — she notes the Chariots — pausing — At her low Gate — Unmoved — an Emperor be kneeling Upon her Mat —
I’ve known her — from an ample nation — Choose One — Then — close the Valves of her attention — Like Stone —
The poet is the speaker, she speaks of her soul and it’s choices towards the society. She says that the soul selects its society independently without any counsel or influence from the external world. It has its own privacy to maintain and when it is done choosing, it closes the door of the path that connects her world and the external world. If it is shut, it has no reopening thus; the out-world actions do not influence it.
The soul remains “Unmoved” by this she says it remains “Emotionless”. Even if an Emperor appears to influence her choices, she wouldn’t cave for it. Her, self decision remains “Unmoved” i.e. “Unchangeable”.
In the final stanza, the poet says that she knows her soul personally very well and thus she says, it chooses one from a big nation to be her society, which is “herself” and for others it “close the Valves” i.e. heart, she will remain a stone-hearted person when it comes to choosing an outsider as her soul loves to be with itself rather than being with this stereotypical society.