I'm Nobody | Analysis

The poem “I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickinson was initially published in 1891, several years after the poet’s death. In what follows, you can read an useful discussion about key elements regarding the poem.


Here, we will deal with both outer composition and inner composition of the poem.

Outer composition

The poem is composed of two quatrains. A quatrain is a stanza composed of four lines. The poem strikes because of its unusual composition: capitalization of several words, several dash lines and unusual vocabulary. The rhythm of the poem is iambic, meaning that the first syllable is unstressed and followed by a stressed syllable.

Inner composition

The poem deals with the theme of alienation. The poet explains how anonymity is far better than fame or being exposed to the public’s eye; how being humble and isolated is better than looking for recognition. As you can see, the poet addresses the reader, who becomes involved in the poem. The reader becomes “you”, which pleases the author who knows that she is not alone.

Characters and speaker

Here, the presence of the speaker is made felt through the first word employed in the poem: “I” (l. 1). This way, it becomes clear that Emily Dickinson herself becomes the speaker. There is another pronoun – except “I” – which indicates the presence of the speaker: “us” (l. 3).

Another character appears in the poem: the reader himself. The poet manages to engage the reader in her ...

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