Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

Updated April 14, 2021

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Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson essay

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Hope is a blessing disguised as a curse. We need hope to survive cancer or to wait out to get a job while unemployed. Humans depend on a little thing called hope to get them through the hard days when nothing seems like it’s going right. Emily Dickinson wrote the poem Hope is the Thing with Feathers, a short poem comparing hope to a loyal bird. Her vision of hope is a positive one, one that guides us through the paths of our lives and keeps us going during hard times.

Hope is like partial credit. Even if you can’t get the 100, or solve every problem, your effort wills yield a positive. It could be a new experience, or learning from your mistakes. Hope is like shopping. Going from store to store until you find what you’ve been waiting for. Hope is like going to the movie theater, and wanting the movie you paid twenty dollars for is enjoyable. Hope is like being the little sister at the birthday girl’s party, and and expecting at least one of the presents to be yours.

Some people say that hope turns to disappointment and unrealised feelings. Iain M. Banks says “Hope could be more painful than despair.” in Against a Dark Background. But it isn’t hope that is a Debbie Downer, it’s expectations. For example, hoping for a promotion isn’t as much of a let down than working hard and expecting it to come, and it never does. Our hopes are what give us expectations, but when they run unchecked, they can be unfulfilled. This makes it feel like our hopes themselves are being crushed.

Hope isn’t a tangible, solid thing, it’s a feeling and a motivation for all humankind. There’s no one on Earth who stays without hope. You want to be a famous artist. Sure, there might be a starting interest in the subject, but in order to make things happen you have to hope for things to come. With that hope comes a motivation with that motivation comes results.

Life’s all about dreaming big, taking risks, and working hard. And nothing quite gets you started up in the morning like hope.


  1. Dickinson, Emily. “‘Hope’ Is the Thing with Feathers – (314) by Emily Dickinson.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42889/hope-is-the-thing-with-feathers-314.
  2. “Against a Dark Background by Iain M. Banks.” Goodreads, Goodreads, 1 Jan. 1993, www.goodreads.com/book/show/422452.Against_a_Dark_Background.
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Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson. (2021, Apr 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/hope-is-the-thing-with-feathers-by-emily-dickinson/


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