Emily Dickinson's poem

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Emily Dickenson's Poem 670, "One need not be a Chamber - to be Haunted", is a fascinating study of the relationship between the constructs of the 'social self' and the 'poet self'. This primary self, feeling like a haunted chamber, is the 'poet self', while the secondary self, relating to the spatiality of a house, is the 'social self'.


"The Brain has Corridors" (4) and the labyrinth of the mind can expose haunting images from the past to either self. That each self is open to attack carries throughout the composition.
This 'poet self' emerges as a construct that is more vulnerable to the undefined haunting. "That Cooler Host" (8) is "interior" (7), without any sort of layers of protection from any potential "Confronting" (7). Any such encounter is removed from ambiguity and moves into a more nefarious and dangerous realm. That the 'poet self' openly acknowledges surfacing from a lowered position is tenderly evocative. "Unarmed" (11) and open to any sort of attack, the 'poet self' resides in a "lonesome Place" (12) that offers no potential for external assistance. As the part of herself that is closest to her core, the "Ourself behind ourself" (13), the 'poet self' resides in hiding, "concealed" (13) from the world and with little experience of self-defense. Because of this, the primary self "should startle most" (14) and this is another extraordinary admission. ...
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