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: Adinda Arum Damarsari

: Literary Criticism

NIM & Class : 1701370792 / LA61

Post Structuralism / Deconstruction

Im Wife by Emily Dickinson

I M wife; I ve finished that,
That other state;
I m Czar, I m woman now:
It s safer so.
How odd the girls life looks
Behind this soft eclipse!
I think that earth seems so
To those in heaven now.
This being comfort, then
That other kind was pain;
But why compare?
I m wife! stop there!

In every stanza, there is a couple of contradiction such as Czar and Woman, Earth and
Heaven, Comfort and Pain. Those show a contradictions in terms of words since deconstruction
approach is about trying to bring up the contradictions in the text. Besides that, finding the intrinsic
elements such as denotation and connotation is also needed.
In the first stanza, Emily show that if she becomes a wife, she will finish all of she had
done. The labels and titles given to women (Wife) and to contrast it to what a woman can never
be and a man can (Czar). The denotation of eclipse in the second stanza is an obscuring of the
light from one celestial body but the connotation is about wife and marriage. The interpretation is
Emily wants to show the inequality of man and woman is clearly shown as well by the change the
woman goes through from childhood: girl to womanhood: Wife characterized by an Eclipse
in the second stanza.
In the first 3 line Dickinson seems to present a pro-marriage opinion. But in the last line of
stanza 1, she writes Its safer so, here is where the ironic messages is put forward. In mid
nineteenth century, it was a norm/expected for a girl to get married, have a family, have children
and have a typical lifestyle. So in the last line she mocks the society for pressurizing girls to get
In the second stanza, she compares the single-married issue to the earth-heaven scenario.
Being single is represented by the harsh life and realities of the earth and a married womans life
is compare to being in Heaven. She sees things as differently as the dead see life on earth. The
interpretation perhaps, she is pointing out that the natural progression of a girls life from
willfulness to marriage in the soft eclipse, almost like she see marriage as a shelter from pain.

In the other statement from Grace in United States, Emily Dickinson is not finding security
with becoming a woman, but insecurities. Certainly, wife was really the only occupation for a
woman out of girlhood, and there is definitely a hint of bitterness and regret, but perhaps the
bitterness is well deserved. And most definitely, I think she did not want to be a wife and I guess
she thought to preserve some sense of an identity she had to become a recluse, but there is a sense
of a lack of identity when not a wife and not a girl. It is a shame she was not more of an outgoing
person challenging social ideals.
The final stanza describes the Emilys feeling in marriage. She said that the marriage at
other side will being comfort as she is pointing out that the natural progression of a girls life from
willfulness to marriage in the soft eclipse, almost like she see marriage as a shelter from pain, but
pain is the other kind. This stanza begins with the lines This being comfort-then/ That other kind
was pain, these two lines transmit a mixed signal suggesting that married life is finally painless or
the complete opposite of it.
Basically, Emily is not satisfied with the marriage life; and thats why she keeps comparing
herself as she says why compare? from the beginning to the end of the poem, and the last line
Im Wife! Stop there! almost sounds like a mans voice ordering her. However, she ends in a
cynical tone: With independence comes pain, so it is natural for women to stop at Wife.
She ends the poem with a positive note towards marriage by saying that there is no need to
compare both the scenarios since she is now a Wife. Here again, she uses the word Wife to
represent her status. That to me indicates that she is trying to mock the sexist society of the middle
nineteenth century.