Home » Famous Female Writers of Victorian Era. Their Names, Works, Information » “From Blank to Blank”: Critical Detailed Analysis And Summary

“From Blank to Blank”: Critical Detailed Analysis And Summary

“From Blank to Blank” written by Emily Dickinson is a well-known American poet and a leading author in the 19th century. She has immensely attracted her readers for her authentic bold poetry. Her invocation of haunting imagery comprising of delicate and miserable visualization enables the reader to undergo an astounding identification when read.

The poem “From Blank to Blank”, addresses the dark visionary of Dickinson but it concludes with a fruitful demeanour. With the help of a particular aspect the entire feature of the society converts. Closing her eyes, the speaker begins to commute captivating her soul with desire and ambition. It was a blessing for her as she was unaware of such an exotic appearance and she hopes that there must be arriving something dazzling which will ultimately erase the darker facet of her life.

The poem failed to appear in Dickinson’s collection which was published in 1890. It probably received its actual publicity after 1929. The central imagery of the verse is a lot denser where a person is found stumbling powerlessly through a celestial space.

From Blank to Blank: Summary

Emily Dickinson graciously addresses the intricacies which unfolded the struggles of her life initially that she has endured throughout her existence.  The first stanza portrays the bewilderment that she has been going through. Her ways are blocked and she felt as if she has been trapped by some misfortune unknowingly. Dickinson introduces the term “threadless”, to emphasize her terrible situation from which she has no way to escape.

The entire landscape was bleakly encapsulated with darkness where she fails to find any glance of positivism. The landscape was so dark that she was undergoing haunting imagery where the pave or lane has suddenly disappeared and corruption has disabled any joyful occurrence turning the entire countryside desolated and arid.

Dickinson’s eyesight failed to capture any light and it was boundlessly “Blank”. At this moment her existence in the sphere has turned useless and she designs such a description with the help of dashes and caesura portraying her terrible condition where no one is bothered about her living or dying.

In the second stanza of the poem, Emily Dickinson sympathetically adds that when she realizes that she has been successful in surviving a part of the struggle, certainly she identifies that there is nothing more to feel. The beauty of the landscape has undergone immense destruction due to which not a single life could be seen outside, probably they have locked themselves inside the domestic sphere to ensure safety and the speaker is the only person who has come outside to witness such a destructive landscape which has nothing essential to address about.

The corners looked like the devil’s houses that are residing there to swallow the dignity and gentility of the society. The speaker could not resist such imagination and preferred to close her eyes to enlighten her mind with a rhythm of peace.

From Blank to Blank: Themes

Lack of Connectivity

Throughout the poem, Emily Dickinson has undertaken the feeling of isolation, and her existence immensely lacks hope. Everywhere she looked it fetched her horrific imagery. The entire landscape was bleak and dull devoid of any aspiration. When she looked around her, she fails to find a single life as every person has locked themselves up to secure their life.

The corners of the countryside were enraptured with a feeling of isolation and the destruction that the landscape has undergone turned it extremely ruthless and rough. She could not find any lane to reach back home and it seems that the devils have disabled the path so as to construct their own residence and reside there swallowing the entire landscape horrendously.

The speaker fails to acknowledge such a sense of isolation and the horrific appearance that arrived in her imagery provided her with a sense of discomfort as a result she decided to take a leave from society closing her eyes and eventually recalling the beauty and elegance of the society where the atmosphere was captivated with a sense of belonging and optimism.

Tone and Mood

The poem addresses a feeling of abandonment.  Emily Dickinson very efficiently describes her sufferings and her enthusiasm which was blocked by the appearance of the bleak and dark landscape which reflects that she was stuck in such an unfortunate maze from which there is no escape. The mood of the poem is emotional and poignant.

The speaker is very well aware of her destiny and she knows that she has no other way except to accept such. For the readers, it appears to be so depressing and miserable as while going through the poem even they can feel the pain that has been endured by Dickinson. But the speaker will not accept such misery as she is in no way responsible for such an arid, and dark atmosphere, and she knows what are her expectations and needs from life.

With such an invocation Dickinson successfully brings her readers into the world of desires where she addresses her zeal and enthusiasm and she is not ready to surrender in front of the corruption rather she would fight back for her own existence refilling her mind with pleasure and satisfaction.

Form and Structure

Emily Dickinson efficiently designed the poem comprising of two stanzas which were further divided into two different sets composed of five lines respectively. Such a structure has been constructed astonishingly with five lines referred to as quintains. Dickenson artistically composes every line using an iambic scheme or metrical feet which are further characterized by one stressed and one unstressed beat. This type of pattern usually follows a strong metrical pattern.

In the poem, the two lines at the beginning of every stanza have two different sets each constituting two beats forming a diameter and the rest of the lines are followed by trimeter and tetrameter consecutively. She applies hymn in verses that have alternative lines of iambic trimeter and certainly concludes with iambic tetrameter.

Such a pattern is unusual for Emily Dickinson but she has tactfully incorporated her views further heading into a more sublime and inspiring conclusion.

Literary Devices

Emily Dickinson has successfully structured the poem by using several devices including caesura, alliteration, and metaphorical derivation.

Caesura is basically a break in the middle of a sentence or pause and such breaks can occur either in the middle, or end at the beginning of a line. Caesura is an important pattern used in the poem by Dickinson that helps to generate a rhythm in the words of the speaker. For Example- In the term ‘Blank’ a continuous repetition of the sound ‘b’ can be heard which is an appropriate example of caesura in the poem “From Blank to Blank”.

Metaphor is another major device that has been tactfully incorporated by Emily Dickinson in the poem. The speaker metaphorically stretches a comparison with the world to a barren exit less bewilderment from which she fails to find her exact way out and her condition is turning so terrible day by day that she is slowly losing the appetite to live, walk or care about her disintegration. Thus, Emily Dickinson has successfully penned an exotic verse that is unusual yet exciting to interpret.

From Blank to Blank: Analysis

Emily Dickinson in the poem skillfully uses her bold artistic formulation making appropriate use of the line at the beginning of the poem “From Blank to Blank” which later turns into the title of the verse. Most of Dickinson’s poem lacks a title and hence her first line of poetry automatically takes the place of the title.

The reason behind such an implementation was mostly because it is either published or printed after her death and therefore the editors or publishers have named or assigned the title poem of the poem as per their convenience. The speaker of Dickinson in the first stanza elaborates on a dreadful scenario from which she is unable to escape. She got stuck in an incomprehensible maze where she is bound to surrender.

The repetition of the sound “Blank” is an amazing example of consonance where it is trying to depict the bleak surrounding which is devoid of any desire or zeal and “Blank to Blank” beholds an interlude of nothingness within. The speaker is currently residing in a zone where the entire countryside has been captivated by darkness and no sort of ray of light could be identified.

The entire foundation has turned so bleak and dull that she feels miserable enduring such a sensation. Every human has locked their doors probably to save them from such horrific visualization.  Dickinson does not elaborate on the meaning of the term ‘nothingness’ but it is not much difficult for the readers to stretch the reference by connecting it with the story of a labyrinth in the mythology of Greek where especially the Theseus had to identify his way and search the thread which the speaker over here possibly does not have.

The labyrinth in the poem represents loneliness, sorrow, and depression which is emotionally hard to get rid of. Just like a machine the speaker is monotonously finding out her lane to rescue herself from such a tremendous visualization. The concluding lines of the first stanza depict the frustration that she was going through.

The speaker was not even bothered by her own existence, whether she stops searching her way or keeps on walking keeping her enthusiasm intact. Every circumstance will be well appreciated and greeted by her.  The dashes that Dickinson intentionally applies “To stop – or perish” are an ethical example of caesura.

In the second stanza of the verse, Emily Dickinson describes the imagery of emptiness due to which her speaker is not being able to live peacefully. The sphere in which she is residing now has no hope rather it is filled with desolation and blank ends beyond. As soon as she successfully reaches one end of such metaphorical intricacies, she gradually recognizes that there is a larger maze to cover which is more frightening to behold.

Dickinson designs the poem’s last two lines by applying more dashes to generate a commotion of amortization blindly but ironically when she decides to close her eyes, she finds that she could enhance and recall the sublime beauty of nature more when her eyes are kept closed whereas once she opens her eyes the entire landscape is captivated with darkness and the sphere was devoid of any peaceful occurrence.

She finally decides to keep her eyes close as it is enabling her to attain more rays of light which is further allowing her to find her lane as she has got stuck in the darkness of despair. Dickinson very carefully and wonderfully concludes the poem allowing the readers to fetch one’s own meaning.

Closing her eyes either depicts that she is surrendering in front of her tragedy accepting the blank and dark landscape or maybe by closing her eyes she is letting her soul escape the frightful visionary and certainly unwrapping her discomforts by refilling the mind with a sense of comfort, bliss, and tranquillity.

The speaker of Emily Dickinson is probably undergoing desolation and depression so she will never be able to cheer up her readers but she will surely convey to you the message that in this sphere you are the not only figure who feels alone or is shattered from within and once we start adopting such foundation then even if we are left alone at any situation or we might have to go through certain circumstances where we have to fight alone to secure our life, then we might not endure the previous feeling of isolation as we will always be reminded of Dickinson’s speaker in the poem “ From Blank to Blank”.


What are the themes of the poem ‘From Blank to Blank‘ by Emily Dickinson?

The themes of the poem are very delicate to look upon which include darkness, solitude, and depression and the poem concludes with an invocation of hope demolishing the darker aspects of Dickinson’s life and certainly refilling it with enlightenment and positivism.

In the poem what does the element of blank refer to by Emily Dickinson?

In the first line of the verse, Emily Dickinson introduces the term blank which depicts how grief or sorrow empties a cycle of life thoroughly from other happenings. We are only aware of pain when a person undergoes immeasurable agony.

Found info useful?