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Tell The Truth But Tell It Slant Analysis Essay

Emily Dickinson's "Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant" Explication

An explication of Emily Dickinson’s “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-” brings to light the overwhelming theme of how one should tell the truth. It also illuminates the development of the extended metaphor of comparing truth to light. From the very beginning of the poem, the speaker is instructing on the best way to tell the truth. Dickinson, through a use of a specific technique of rhyming, literary elements, and different forms of figurative language, establishes the importance of not telling the truth all at once.
Alliteration is a key aspect to how the reader experiences the poem; it especially gives interest toward alliteration of the letter T. This alliteration begins in the very first line “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-” (1.1). The alliteration on the T is used three times within the first line; however, it does not stop there. Dickinson uses the “T” sound to continually draw back to the theme of truth. Dickinson, through the use of two stanzas, four lines each, uses quite a distinct rhyme scheme to organize her poem. The second and fourth lines of each stanza are clearly examples of end rhyme, by using words such as “lies” (1.2) and “surprise” (1.4). However, every single line is not an example of end rhyme. The first and third lines rhyme words such as “slant” (1.1) and “delight” (1.3); which can be described as near rhymes for they give a small sensation of rhyming. This rhyming pattern continues for the second stanza as well. The sequence of rhyming is not arbitrarily put into practice, rather, it also adds on to the truth theme. The near rhymes Dickinson stresses to not tell the truth in its entirety, but rather, convey a little bit of truth. This is being directly compared to the almost rhyming sensation of near rhymes, in its almost having a sensation of telling the truth.
The very first line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-” (1.1). Dickinson is by no means stating that we should keep the truth completely hidden; however, she is quickly asserting her opinion of how the truth needs to be told. In telling the truth one must slant or hold back from embellishing all of the details of that particular truth. The ensuing line, “Success in Circuit lies” (1.2), parallels the first lines’ slant with a curvature of a circuit. A circuit goes perfectly around an area eventually returning back to the same spot. Dickinson conveys that only certain details should be let out, eventually giving you the truth as a whole. Also the words chosen in this line seem have reason to be grouped together. The word “lies” (1.2) is paired within a sentence with the word “Success” (1.2), giving the connection that lies may be needed to obtain success. The poem is trying to point out that truth and lies both can become truth, if they are presented in the correct circuit. The third line, “Too bright for our infirm Delight” (1.3), uses a metaphor to compare truth to light. This metaphor is full of...

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