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Word Count: 1,389
Pain has an element of blank Although cryptic in language and structure Dickinson gives her work an instinctually vivid sense of emotion Her examination of the feeling of pain focuses in on only a few of the subtler nuances of pain that are integral parts of the experience She draws in on an Element of Blank that she introduces in her opening line In exploring pain she proposes that this blankness is a self-propagating force that is subject to the dynamic forces of time history and perception but only to an extent Her first mention of Pain in the first line does not distinguish this particular emotion as being of a particular brand of pain She substitutes no other words for pain By suggesting no other words for pain she chooses the most semantically encompassing term for the emotion She thus gives her work the responsibility of examining the collective general breadth of pain Her alternatives offer connotations that color her usage of Pain the sense of loss in grief and mourning or the sense of pity in anguish and suffering She chooses the lexical vagueness of Pain to embrace all these facets of the emotion In introducing the Element of Blank it becomes the context that she thus examines pain The exact context of Blank possesses a vagueness that suggests its own inadequacy of solid definition Perhaps this sense of indefinition is the impression that this usage of Blank is meant to inspire In this context this blankness is suggestive of a quality of empty unknowingness that is supported by the next few lines It cannot recollect When it begun This inability to remember raises a major problem with respect to the nature of Pain namely whether Dickinson is choosing to personify Pain by giving it a human quality like memory or is in fact negating the humanity of making it unable to remember Several lines below she suggests that Pain does in
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