College of San Mateo Taking Off Emily Dickinsons Clothes Analysis Use this assignment sheet as a template and write a paragraph of five or more sentences

College of San Mateo Taking Off Emily Dickinsons Clothes Analysis Use this assignment sheet as a template and write a paragraph of five or more sentences

in response to each prompt.

Write your response in the color of your choice, as long as it isn’t too light and hard to

read, such as yellow.

Use your own words to respond to each question. Do NOT quote or paraphrase sources

from the internet.

Leave a blank line between the question and the response. Leave a blank line after your

response and before the next question. 2020/4/21
Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes
Billy Collins
Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes
First, her tippet make of tulle,
easily lifted off her shoulders and laid
on the back of a wooden chair.
And her bonnet,
the bow undone with a light forward pull.
Then the long white dress, a more
complicated matter with mother-of-pearl
buttons down the back,
so tiny and numerous that it takes forever
before my hands can part the fabric,
like a swimmer’s dividing water,
and slip inside.
You will want to know
that she was standing
by an open window in an upstairs bedroom,
motionless, a little wide-eyed,
looking out at the orchard below,
the white dress puddled at her feet
on the wide-board, hardwood floor.
The complexity of women’s undergarments
in nineteenth-century America
is not to be waved off,
and I proceeded like a polar explorer
through clips, clasps and moorings,
catches, straps, and whalebone stays,
sailing toward the iceberg of her nakedness.
Later, I wrote in a notebook
it was like riding a swan into the night,
but, of course, I cannot tell you everything–
the way she closed her eyes to the orchard,
how her hair tumbled free of its pins,
https://www.ronnowpoetry.com/contents/collins/TakingOff.html
1/2
2020/4/21
Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes
how there were sudden dashes
whenever we spoke.
What I can tell you is
it was terribly quiet in Amherst
that Sabbath afternoon,
nothing but a carriage passing the house,
a fly buzzing in a windowpane.
So I could plainly hear her inhale
when I undid the very top
hook-and-eye fastener of her corset
and I could hear her sigh when finally it was unloosed,
the way some readers sigh when they realize
that Hope has feathers,
that reason is a plank,
that life is a loaded gun
that looks right at you with a yellow eye.
Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and
Selected Poems, Random House, 2002.
Home
Whole Wide World
An Anthology of Poems:
2K B.C. – 2K A.D.
Today’s Jazz
Recording
https://www.ronnowpoetry.com/contents/collins/TakingOff.html
2/2
English 110
Mark Harrison
Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes
Billy Collins
➢ Use this assignment sheet as a template and write a paragraph of five or more sentences
in response to each prompt.
➢ Write your response in the color of your choice, as long as it isn’t too light and hard to
read, such as yellow.
➢ Use your own words to respond to each question. Do NOT quote or paraphrase sources
from the internet.
➢ Leave a blank line between the question and the response. Leave a blank line after your
response and before the next question.
➢ Upload to the appropriate folder on turnitin.com
1. Collins’ poem references a number of images and ideas in Dickinson’s poems, including
Dickinson poems we read for class. Identify at least two lines in Collins’ poem that allude
to Dickinson poems. Name the Dickinson poems and explain how the Collins’ lines
allude to the Dickinson poems.
2. In the fifth stanza, Collins describes “[t]he complexity of women’s undergarments / in
nineteenth-century America.” Why might Collins have chosen to use the metaphor of “a
polar explorer… sailing toward the iceberg of her [Emily Dickinson’s] nakedness”? How
might this metaphor reflect important historical achievements by adventurers in the
1800’s, as well as what we know about Dickinson’s personal life?
3. How would you describe the tone of the poem? Is Collins making fun of Dickinson? Is
the poem pornographic? Is the poem sexist? Is Collins a misogynist?
4. Does the speaker literally want to undress Dickinson and have sex with her? How might
“Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes” be read as a metaphor? What does the speaker
actually want to “undress”?

Purchase answer to see full
attachment

Submit a Comment