Critical Analysis Essay Sample of I Like to See It Lap the Miles

Published: 2022-02-21
Critical Analysis Essay Sample of I Like to See It Lap the Miles
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Poem Emily Dickinson
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1243 words
11 min read

I like to See It Lap the Miles, takes the form of a short poem authored by one of the greatest authors in the 19th Century know as Emily Dickinson. She compared two types of transportation, which were common during her time, by using sound and figurative devices. The metaphor utilized by the Dickson aids the audience to develop intense sounds and images which are the same towards what the author is facing. The author is observing the train which she terms a horse. Additionally, her comparison appears to be ostensibly due to the normal action of horse that only stops to feed. Also, on one moment which the train sojourns to refuel, the whole poem converses on the manner the horse is running without stopping (Priddy, 4). This critical analysis reveals the author's custom of changing words accompanied with novel denotations. This analysis is also essential in illustrating different themes and combination of literary devices such as themes, figurative language, and metaphor as used in poetry. Therefore, analysis of its purpose, use of literary devices, and design is essential in helping the readers understand and enjoy the poem I like to See It Lap the Miles.

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Even though detective-like audiences may discover that the anonymous creature conversed in this poem is the train, Dickson (2), utilizes an extended metaphor in efforts to demonstrate it as extremely influential foreign being. The author also states that she likes the manner in which the train consumes the landscape by making use of alliteration, for example, "lap", "lick," and "like." This denotes that Dickson flavors her perception of the train similarly to the manner it enjoys its consumption of valleys and miles. Additionally, the use of metaphor retells the readers that the presented train moves around the natural universe though it is not part of that world. Gewertz (9), says that, "the train is personified with different creaturely aspects which are evident as readers continue to read the poem." The train may be compared to the entire menagerie of the animal variety. Nonetheless, each of these natural aspects ultimately makes it appear extraordinary and strange. For example, in line one to four, the tranimal, in other words, train-animal is ravenous because it does not only move but also gobbles up valleys and miles prior to feeding. This means that the train refuels itself to enable it to continue with the journey. Thus, what is interesting to discover how Dickson's use of metaphor is a concept that the train can feed itself instead of waiting to be supplied by human caregivers.

Dickson (2), also makes a significant utilization of riddle in I like to See It Lap the Miles. She avoids mentioning the actual terms for the explanation she utilizes. This is because she is surprised by the transportation development as well as the train introduction to her city. Although she enjoys watching it, the train reveals its emotions through complaints and its arrogance. Although Dickson (2), appears to praise it, implicitly she does not love the train since its portrayal in the poem as "supercilious" takes a negative viewpoint. The author additionally demonstrates the train sound in an unwanted manner such as "complaining," "hooting," and "horrid." Shrestha states, "this can support the reason why the train is not a useful component in the natural universe since it moves while licking every hill as well as destroying town's peace due to its horrid sound." According to the author, the train does not fit the natural universe, and this may be the primary reason she uses a riddle to avoid mentioning it in the entire poem.

There are also various essential themes that are present in the poems such as the theme of admiration and transformation. The author at the start of the poem seems to experience admiration about the power of the railway train. This is aimed at adding the simplicity illusion which covers the riddle-like aspects of the poetry. This additionally forces the readers to study the ambiguity of the poem deeply. For instance, a term such as "prodigious" which is common in the first stanza of the poem is rapidly substituted with more negative components which proves Dickson's measures of admiration for the train (Dickson, 2). On the other hand, the reader may perceive that the author concentrates much on transformation. However, Shrestha (2), contend that, "when one investigates deeper, it is clear that the simple writer poem regarding the train may be understood as a poem concerning geographic, technological, and social transformation." Dickson also shows the train as a pretty and innovation whose arrival denotes a significant era of change in the community (Gewertz (10) This is because people were now able to explore and move great distances while consuming little time which set the development and modernization of America in a higher gear.

The setting that the poem adapts in not specific but the readers can visualize it precisely nevertheless. Dickson designates a train finding its path through miles while dipping via valleys as well as moves into mountains. The author presents a view of the train's entire course via this setting, and observes it, at line termination which pulls into a station. Priddy (16), states, "whenever, the readers read I like to See It Lap the Miles, they can envisage standing at the same position as the Dickson." This is perhaps at the mountaintop or the hill crest, viewing the train while it puffs and huffs its rail via the countryside stretching before her. Thus, to the twenty-first century, which is mainly composed of car-driver's audiences, this landscape is a romantic scenic which they would love to stand as they "watch it lap the Miles." If the readers are talking about the biographical path in the poem, they might visualize the actual setting which Dickson is talking about in the poem. This is the valleys and hills of her instinctive Massachusetts, where the rail line is built in her town known as Amherst for the first time. Amherst is situated close to Holyoke mountains in verdant Western Massachusetts and therefore, readers can picture a steaming train moving via fields and trees of the ninetieth-century landscape which makes the poem interesting.


It is clear from the critical analysis that Dickson utilizes her custom practice of changing words accompanied by new denotations to make the poem interesting. This has been possible through the use of metaphor, riddle, and different themes as well as an appropriate setting. The author uses metaphor to demonstrate the train as highly crucial foreign being that is extraordinary and strange. He also uses a riddle to avoid mentioning exact terms in the poem. Themes of admiration and transformation are evident in the poem to drive the readers in studying the ambiguity of the poem. Conversely, the setting of the poem makes the readers and audiences of the poem to imagine its scenic and picture the introduction and functioning of the train in the natural world. Therefore, through a combination of metaphor, riddle, themes, and setting their comprehension makes the poem interesting which is the best recommendation for detective-like poem readers.

Works Cited

Dickinson, E. (1972). I Like to See it Lap the Miles. Press Office Winding Way.

Gewertz, Catherine. "Teachers Say they are Unprepared for Common Core." Education Week 32.22 (2013): 1-12.

Priddy, Anna. Bloom's How to Write about Emily Dickinson. Infobase Publishing, 2009.

Shrestha, Roma. I Like to See it Lap the Miles by Emily Dickinson: Summary and Analysis. 2017, Https://Www.Bachelorandmaster.Com/Britishandamericanpoetry/I-Like-To-See-It-Lap-The-Miles-Summary-Analysis.Html#.W6Al2egzbIV. Accessed 18 Sept 2018.

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