June 25, 2012
I’m Nobody: Who are you?
Are you- Nobody- too?
Then there’s a pair of us
Don’t tell! they’d advertise-you know!
How dreary- to be- Somebody!
How public- like a Frog-
To tell one’s name- the livelong June
To an admiring Bog!
-Emil Dickinson, 1891/1980
Being popular sometimes seems like the most important thing in the world. We often think that being the center of attention would be fantastic, like being a famous actor or athlete. But in Emily Dickinson poem “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” the speaker wants to be a nobody and outsider. As an outsider you are not forced to be public you can be yourself and be comfortable. In this poem that is what Emily Dickinson wanted.
The first line of the poem is very interesting because the speaker is describing his or her self as nothing. “Nobody” breaks down in to the nonexistence of a physical form. The tone of the poem is practically a conversation between the speaker who is Nobody and someone else not named. In the second line Nobody asks if we- the reader- are Nobody too. Nobody goes on to say that if we answer that we are nobody too then we are not alone because then we are two nobodies. But as a pair they aren’t really nobodies anymore.
That's why the speaker says in the fourth line, "Don't tell! they 'd advertise, you know." She understands that once you have another "nobody" at your side, you aren't really a "nobody" anymore. Somebody is becoming known and having expectations based on being Somebody. (Franklin, 1998) This is clearly not desired by the Speaker.
This next line, the sixth one gave me a lot of trouble and I had to think on it. How is a frog public? I think it is because a frog can be very noisy. You can hear a frog a lot more often before you ever see it. If one vocalizes oneself then you become known to your enemies…