Hope according to Dickinson

As if this thing called hope was invented just like the first automobile was invented by humans. In this poem by Emily Dickinson, she claims that we humans did invent hope. Dickinson found this to be a strange event.


Let’s assume that hope is something of a human invention. What was the motivation to do this? Other inventions were created because there was a need or the inventor wanted to explore new possibilities.


According to Dickinson, this thing we call hope is based on optimism. The need to see that there is something more, something better or anything that fits the moment. Hope goes beyond optimism in a way but is very much related to it.


These thoughts are very deep. Once you read the poem for the first time, you can find yourself wondering what Dickinson wants to bring forward. If hope is an invention made by us humans, the next question will be: why and related to that question: when.


If you are a religious person, you will immediately state that there is something divine to all of this. God, Goddess or even Gods would have had a specific reason to give humans hope. If you are willing to go for this approach, you can still find yourself wondering why we need to be tormented with hope, when we live in a world that is not always picture-perfect. Do we need it to be OK or do we want it to be OK? Will it ever be OK?


This poem is probably one of the most mind-challenging poems written by Emily Dickinson. It shows us someone who was struggling with the need to come up with answers, even when you have to realize that there aren’t any to be found. This is why this poem ends with the mentioning of a unique moment(um)…

Hope is a strange invention

Hope is a strange invention


Hope is a strange invention —
A Patent of the Heart —
In unremitting action
Yet never wearing out —


Of this electric Adjunct
Not anything is known
But its unique momentum
Embellish all we own –


—  Emily Dickinson




Hope is a strange invention
Article Name
Hope is a strange invention
Dickinson's thoughts on hope.
Publisher Name
The Ministry of Poetic Affairs

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