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Flashcards in Certain Slant Of Light Deck (16)
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What form is used to show ambiguity

Elliptical form(use of ceasura) (shows also that some things are ineffable)


What does Dickinson wrestle with

Langue and it's possibilities


Why does Dickinson wrestle with the languages possibilities and inadequacies

It gives the sense to the reader that they are following someone's thoughts (intimate form)


Key techniques

Oxymoron, mix of concrete and abstract language, synaesthesia, defamiliarisation


Key themes

Religion, nature and death


Explain 'there's a certain slant of light'

Difficult to comprehend because light is usually a collective object not described in individual strands.
(Implies she's seen it before)


Explain 'heavenly hurt, it gives us'

Oxymoronic- heaven should give salvation, not pain. Religion is complicated by subversive treatment of light.
Battling non belief- apostasy


Explain 'where the meanings are'

Imply that 'heavenly hurt' brings meaning (supporting the belief that we experience pain in order to appreciate what we have)


Explain 'none may teach it - any'

Defamiliarises the light and forces the reader to see it with a difference. We question something we encounter everyday, and Dickinson forces us to look at light differently. (We are surrounded by light but we cannot fully understand it and so can't teach it)


'An imperial affliction'

Light is an eminently powerful force


Explain 'when it comes the landscape listens/shadows hold their breath'

Highlights symbiotic relationship between light and nature. It illuminates the landscapes and for shadows to exist light must also. Light should be viewed as transcendent


Explain 'when it goes,'tis like the distance on the look of death'

Light leaves the eyes following death. On a deeper level, the 'death' she mentions could be of understanding as we can't understand the nature of light


What is interesting about the structure

Because the final stanza explores the coming and going of light immediately after each other- shows it's cynical nature


What links with religion does this have with other poems

I heard a fly buzz, I felt a funeral in my brain, the last night she lived


What other poems does defamiliarisation link to

Fly buzz, last night she lived or defamiliarisation of any nature poem


What is the broad idea of this poem

Time is used as a medium for exploring apostasy