A Day Poem by Emily Dickinson Exercise: Questions & Answers Class 12 English
Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. How does the poet describe the morning sun in the first stanza?
➜ In the first stanza of this poem, the speaker describes the rising sun in the early morning. The first beautiful golden rays of the sun extend like ribbons around it. It makes everything bright and visible. It changes the colour of the steeple into amethyst.
b. What does the line ‘The news like squirrels ran’ mean?
➜ The line “The news like Squirrels ran” in the first stanza means that the news of the rising of the sun along with the casting its rays spreads as fast as squirrels run. The news of the arrival of the sun on the horizon is compared with the quick running of the squirrels using the word “like”.
c. What do you understand by the line “The hills untied their bonnets”?
➜ Before the sun rises, the hills are sunk in the bonnet of darkness. After the sun rises all the hills look beautiful in fine green colour. The hills throw away their bonnets when they are touched by the first rays of the sunlight. The hills are personified in this line as they untie their bonnets like women.
d. Is the speaker watching the morning sun? Why? Why not?
➜ Yes, the speaker is watching the rising sun. The speaker is observing the change in colour of the steeple into amethyst, untied bonnets of the hills. He is also listening to the singing of the beautiful bobolinks and all these events confirm that the speaker is watching the morning sun.
e. How does the sun set?
➜ Actually, the speaker is unknown to the setting sun. She doesn’t know where the sun goes after its sets. The purple and yellow colours indicate the setting of the sun, but she doesn’t know what happens after it because of the lack of knowledge about the sunset.
Reference to the Context
a. What, according to the speaker, is a day?
➜ According to the speaker, a day is about the simplicity of life’s ordinary things through his/her innocent eyes.
b. What purpose does the hyphen in the first line serve in the poem?
➜ A hyphen (-) is a punctual mark used in writings to join works or parts of words. In poetry, a hyphen is used to show pause. Emily Dickenson uses punctuation marks in her poem in an innovative way. She uses hyphens if she doesn’t find the suitable words to express deep emotions, to granting readers to imagine and complete the missing words and to show the power of silence in front of certain situations. It is also used to give a sudden emphasis.
c. What makes this poem lyrical and sonorous? Discuss.
➜ The poem “A Day” by Emily Dickenson is both a lyrical and sonorous poem. The poem is lyrical in the sense that it expresses personal feelings or emotions in the first-person narration. The first pronoun “I” used in lyrical poems indicates the poetic persona. This poem is very short and the poetess is expressing her personal experience of observing sunrise. The word “Sonorous” means full of sound and rich in verse or language. Several things make a poem musical and melodious. Sound devices alliteration, assonance, rhyme and rhythm make a poem musical.
d. Who are the target audience of the speaker? Why?
➜ The audience is the target people whom a writer writes or composes any poem. In the poem, the world is seen through the eyes of an innocent child. It looks beautiful and miraculous but mysterious at the end. The speaker is narrating the sunrise as the first line says “I’ll tell you how the sun rose.” From this perspective, we can say that the target audiences are those fellow children who have missed observing this beautiful sunrise as they awake late in the morning. When we analyze the poem philosophically, the entire humankind is also the target audience. The beautiful sunrise indicates the beginning of life, the activities of the entire day is a journey of life and the setting of the sun represents death.
e. The poem seems to describe a day for children. How would the adult people respond to this poem? Discuss this poem with your parents/guardians and write the answer based on their responses.
➜ The poem “A Day” in a literal sense describes the sunrise, phenomena after sunrise and sunset. But in a philosophical sense, the poem talks about the transition from life to death. The poem tells us about the excitement from the beginning of life and, a squirrel running like life and the mysterious ending of a life.
Reference beyond the text
a. Observe your surroundings of one fine morning and write a poem based on your own experience.
➜ To write a poem according to this question, You can take a look around your surrounding by getting up early in the morning. You may see birds, fog, houses, sun and experience a peaceful environment in the morning time. To write a good poem, pick a specific theme or idea from the objects you see in the surrounding. You can also use simile, metaphor and other literary devices to give the best touch to your poem. Below are some examples:
b. Write a personal essay on A Day in the School.