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“I YEARS had been from home,
And now, before the door,
I dared not open, lest a face
I never saw before
Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.
My business,—just a life I left,
Was such still dwelling there?
I fumbled at my nerve,
I scanned the windows near;
The silence like an Ocean rolled,
And broke against my ear.
I laughed a wooden laugh
That I could fear a door,
Who danger and the dead had faced,
But never quaked before.
I fitted to the latch
My hand, with trembling care,
Lest back the awful door should spring,
And leave me standing there.
I moved my fingers off
As cautiously as glass,
And held my ears, and like a thief
Fled gasping from the house.”
It explains the fact that she hasn’t
shown her inner self for a long time
because she was scared of what
Emily Dickinson’s poem “I Years had been from Home” describes a woman
returning to her home after many years of absence. The speaker
approaches the door of the house, considers entering, but the possibility of
seeing a ghost of herself, an unfriendly stranger answering the door causes
her to not enter. Finally she decides to run away from the house in a fit of
● Inner vs outer self
● “That I could fear a Door - Who
○ The personification of the door is
useful to portray the division
between the voice’s inner and
○ The door is not feared, what is
hidden inside is.
● “And never winced before”
○ It means that the voice did not
express his or her emotions but
maintained them inside, behind
● “the Second like an Ocean rolled”
○ In combination with the
personification of “Awe”, it
compares it to the ocean. This one
represents formlessness and chaos,
regarding the fact that the fear and
her disturbances are not expressed.
As well, it is easy to be lost in the
ocean, as one can be lost within
● “My Hand, with trembling care… Then
moved my Fingers off”
○ The writer uses parts of the
voice’s body to refer to its whole
● “As cautiously as Glass”
○ The voice is so afraid and fragile
upon the act of opening the door
and discover what is conceals, that
it is compared to Glass
● “And held my ears, and like a Thief”
○ The voice is no only compared to a
thief because of the attitude she
took, but also because she felt as if
their outer self were an intruder to
the inner self; a traitor.
The division of the voice’s inner and
While the inner self, represented by
the inside of the house, is
consterned (the voice’s ghost)
The outer self, represented by the
voice’s body itself, is cheery. It
hides the dark side
○ Not explanations
○ Easily to be lost in
○ Stability through
Connection with “Lady Through the Looking-
Glass: A Reflexion”
● They both make reference to the difference between the outer and inner
worlds/selves of women.
● They are connected to the life of women at the time of the external context of
● The protagonist of both text is struggling between both of her selves which tend
to be opposite from one another; the outer self concealing the true and inner self
which she is afraid of letting escape from its whereabouts.