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“Success is Counted Sweetest”: Critical Detailed Analysis And Summary

Writer of the poem, “ Success is counted sweetest”, Emily Dickinson is a well-known American poet who emerged in the 19th century. Her writings mostly emphasized her authentic bold imagination which gained the immense attraction of the bibliophiles.

Dickinson successfully introduces this poem in 1859 claiming that success is an achievement that can be perfectly reciprocated by those who have undergone failure in certain circumstances. She astonishingly elaborates it by stretching a contrast between a victorious army with that of a fallen soldier which further provided her with a rare privilege of publication in 1864, although it was divulged anonymously.

The poem especially depicts that every individual should determine to lose or mislay something in order to indulge the capability of appreciating it after you reconstruct.

Success is Counted Sweetest: Summary

Emily Dickinson in the poem astoundingly upholds an essential scenario that is very compelling for the readers to understand for an individual’s livelihood. She delicately suggests to her readers that it is very urgent to witness deterioration as only when you strive to achieve your goal then certainly you will learn to protrude, celebrate, observe, and glorify your dreams.

If you are truly affectionate towards a particular entity or a peace then working hard is the only key to attaining victory and while you are diligently working you might not gain supremacy but this will evoke your soul further by incredibly increasing your hunger, turning your passion into personification to forfeit success that will cautiously unwrap her mind with joy and estheticism.

She subsequently refers to the life of a soldier addressing that the soldiers who have won on the battlefield will never understand the emotion or exact meaning of victory just like a soldier who has endured the feelings of dying, fighting with the opposing army to secure the life of his citizens.

In the verse, all the dying soldiers who were prepared to obey and follow the drum beats did not have any clear idea about such a hideous act but the beats of the drum automatically generated an eagerness in the mind of the soldiers. Although they were not aware of the fact that they will have to face such failure undergoing tremendous agony by apparently losing their lives soon and lethargically transported to the sphere of the dead.

The sound and murmurs of celebration address the unfathomable regret and sorrow associated with so many deaths. The lives of the defeated soldiers can never be brought back. Although, they have been forgotten with the passage of time and history has also evacuated them but their failure to attain victory fighting against the opposing army has compiled countless drops of tears and deep aching sighs of the people.

Dickinson successfully visualizes tremendous mourning over the death of the heroic soldiers who were just used as a pawn and once their masters have undergone their avaricious motives, they are effortlessly neglected, and eventually, their sacrifices are disregarded.

Success is Counted Sweetest: Analysis

Emily Dickinson magnificently designs the verse artistically by incorporating all the core elements that a person must come across to attain success. Every individual must undergo failure for recognizing his or her felicitous worth. The stanza wonderfully suggests the conception of Dickinson where she willfully addresses that failing in life even after working hard apparently works as a medicine and they immensely value success by nurturing it sweetly and equivalently gripping it firmly.

Need has a crucial significance in the poem. When someone is found striving to achieve something then even after several attempts when he fails to identify success only then the need tends to acquire the potential to fight more to attain victory which will further initiate a soul to “comprehend a nectar.”

Dickinson introduces a sense of rationalization where she endorses the nature of those people and elaborates on their way of communicating success. She says whoever successfully achieved their dreams effortlessly and they may often take those accomplishments for granted treating success as their own property.

They fail to appreciate the importance and glory that have set foot in their life. The way that success has contrived turns in vain and remains unrecognized as the receivers certainly never discuss such elements and this is indeed a logical assumption by Dickinson. Success becomes substantially equal and as simple as water.

Water provides nutrition to our body and a person cannot exist long without drinking water and suddenly a fine morning if we find that due to certain obligations in the flow, there is a shortage of water supply then the importance of water can be objectified but if we assume that whenever we will turn a faucet of water undoubtedly it will be obtainable to us then that accessibility would not have many appraisals in front of the huge sphere.

However, the same water would receive an intensification and essentialities will be appreciated accordingly if it would reach those people who have strived and immensely worked hard to construct a water source, probably a well in the desert which is very difficult to locate for the visitors at times.

The concluding lines eventually use a few terms like ‘nectar’ that are generally found describing the circumstances and since nectar is something very sweet, it also beholds the capability to stretch a reference of mythological stories eventually connecting the deities of mythological and Greek as it introduces certain foods which have a unique and an adequate connection with such an extreme imaginative thought of survival.

But no matter how grand the natural object is, a person will never cherish or respect ‘success’ until they are in need of that element drastically.

In the next stanza, Dickinson stretches a reference to “the purple Host” where she has invited royalty into the description as the term ‘purple’ was quite historical which had a sublime connection with the rich and the dignified and these purples are those who lethargically “took the Flag today” probably this royalty refers to something whose army has fought and won the fight in the battlefield.

There are only two terms that are being especially capitalized to emphasize the importance of certain words that has aesthetic connectivity with royalty or dignity with their country. Dickinson induces certain terms like ‘Host’ and ‘Flag’ and purposely capitalizes them to gain the interest of the reader. These are the souls who have stood over such an imaginative situation of Dickinson and the combatting soldiers are nursed as ignoble.

The elevation of the host regarding any physical circumstances does not define the definition of success rather they have not claimed for ‘the flag” failing to understand the appropriate significance or importance of the ongoing struggles that have been fought by the strugglers immensely.

Thus, the defeated soldiers behold the courage to appreciate and specify the strength of success, and those who have received it without facing much trouble, can never perfectly appreciate the emotion hidden behind attaining success once the battle is over.

Every stanza is wonderfully articulated with the ABCD rhyming scheme stating that a ‘host’ or a master can never imagine the exact meaning of ‘victory’ but it can also be an imperfect representation as they often fail to sync with each other.

In the third stanza of “Success is Counted Sweetest” Dickinson points out the human soul who understands the victory of a battle on a battlefield. She elegantly refers to the ‘dying’ warrior.

The victory has uncovered the tag of ‘defeat,’ where the soldiers after hearing the drum beats of battle” distant strains of triumph” is found undergoing tremendous agony as they have to march towards the battlefield where the opposing army is awaiting. The soldiers do not know whether it is their last march whereas “the purple Host” seems to appear in good condition but the soldiers.

The latter fought in the field were left unnoticed and simultaneously they have brushed aside to such an extent that their paths were not only acknowledged rather they did not even have access to or allowed to hear the shout of the ‘victory’ for which he is losing his life cautiously.

Thus, Dickinson also unwraps the negative side of attaining ‘victory’ where she repeatedly mentions that only the person who suffers to attain such can truly experience the sensation and it is so firmly managed that one might undertake hardship to envy such human soul who grasps ‘success’ as the person might not be able to identify its price appropriately.

Even though the host is far away from the person who has attained the victory but it is always ‘the purple Host” who claims the victory as his own and acts like the owner of it. But the defeated soldiers are far away from their social surroundings and while they are dying, they can understand what the victory in true sense means as they have lost their precious life just to attain victory.

The defeated soldiers very well recognize the cost of the victory that has been eventually revealed to them in exchange for their delicate life and in return they successfully identify the depth of ‘success.’ The devastation that has been offered to someone who cannot even appreciate their struggle certainly fetches a belonging of grief that can never be vanquished.

Dickinson wonderfully concludes the poem by addressing the ‘need’ which can be truly identified by anyone either by the host who has earned it or by the one who has sacrificed their life but the person who was striving for it only with his need can a genuine comprehension of what a ‘triumph’ is trying to depict can be grasped firmly.

Structure of Poem Success is Counted Sweetest

In the first stanza, Dickinson with her astonishing artistic formulation efficiently induces alliteration in the first two sentences upholding the bold imaginations and ideas that often marked the repetition of certain sounds like the ‘s’ of ‘soft’, ‘successes, and ‘succeed.’ The sound of ‘s’ in the verse keeps on recurring but it is not exactly a harsh feature of a human soul instead if the verse had a continuous repetition of sounds like ‘b’ of blunt or ‘c’ from the term cutting, then it would have a space for a bitter scenario.

The entire verse is artistically composed of an ABCD rhyming scheme which astoundingly grounds the authenticity of Emily Dickinson’s idea portraying how she had designed such common ideas unwrapping them with her unique devices.

A person should only be victorious only after they have strived for something very enormously otherwise the value of success remains unnoticed. In the second stanza, Dickinson incorporates certain terms mainly ‘Host’ and ‘Flag’ that deal with the dignity and loyalty of one country and capitalizes on them to attract the interest of the bibliophiles making them aware of the essential parts.

The poem is a ballad that has been logically structured and designed skillfully with three quatrains. This is a sort of a definition verse where she recognizes various features while exploring several meanings in order to carefully evaluate a complex truth.


What does the Nectar suggest in ‘Success is counted Sweetest‘ by Emily Dickinson?

The lines are a proclamation of truth which are undeniable by strategically exemplifying few an image of nectar which symbolizes luxury, ‘success’ or can be appropriately identified with a person who is seeking his needs but gets defeated even after several attempts and it is prominently understood by the soldiers who have undergone dead while enormously fighting with the opposing army equivalently striving for success.

According to Dickinson who can tell the exact definition of victory?

Every person who has endured defeat even after working hard understands the value of success through the procedure of losing. Dickinson also emphasizes the importance of success for a soldier. She wonderfully differentiates that a defeated soldier who has lost his life fighting with the opposing army certainly longed for achieving success but failed to grasp it.

Thus, the poem especially conveys the message of belonging. When someone immensely desires something but fails to retrieve it then automatically the desire for accomplishing success becomes substantial.

What is the theme of the poem?

Emily Dickinson in “Success is Counted Sweetest” very elegantly addresses her conception of ‘success’. She logically proclaims that people learn to value success when that person falls in a position where he needs to strive to obtain such. Therefore, it can be referred to as a paradox where as soon as you gain success, you begin to depreciate it and fail to glorify them. Thus, the theme of the poem appropriately justifies success, deficiency, and aspiration.