Zachary Welsh’s Thoughts on Dickinson’s A Little Madness in the Spring and Much Madness is Divinest Sense

With her poem Much Madness is Divinest Sense, author Emily Dickinson seeks to portray to readers the parallels of being considered “mad” and having the “divinest sense.” In the poem, Dickinson seems to paint the two as two sides of the same coin. She states that being mad is seen by those who have “a discerning eye,” is the same as having “divinest sense.” In this comparison, Dickinson essentially argues that what is seen as madness in someone is more often sense within the person, but most people don’t see it like that. To further explore this theme, Dickinson includes the line “‘T is the majority / In this, as all, prevails.” This line essentially indicates that Dickinson is telling her readers that these individuals who are labeled as “mad” are actually quite the opposite, but society fails to recognize it that way because society tends to just blindly agree with the major opinion on matters such as these. By doing this, and pointing this out to readers, Dickinson’s poem arguably challenges the viewers to see the minority viewpoint in the discussion as opposed to blindly following the majority opinion as the rest of society does.

With her second poem we were assigned for the day, Little Madness in the Spring, Dickinson once again touches on the concept of madness and the connotations associated with it. Here, Dickinson uses seasons as a way of comparing to one’s mental state. She uses the unpredictability/(madness) of spring as a way of saying that this unpredictability/(madness) is okay at times, even for an individual such as the king. Dickinson builds on this by saying that the while the king himself doesn’t seem to understand this, there are in fact others that see this scene but these other individuals are seen as “clowns” in our society. In point this out, Dickinson brings this poem and its themes back to her previously mentioned poem Much Madness is Divinest Sense in the way she compares those who not only embrace madness but are able recognize madness as being outcasts or clowns in our world.

If I left anything out or if anyone interpreted Dickinson’s poems in a different way, I would love to hear your comments on what you thought of the poems for today.

Leave a Reply