Poetry - Goodman's AmLit discussion

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Tell all the truth but tell it slant

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message 1: by Frey (new)

Frey Babe | 9 comments The main idea of this poem is telling us a point of view which is we should tell the whole truth, but tell it indirectly and circuitous way.


message 2: by Frey (new)

Frey Babe | 9 comments There is an example of simile: “As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind” The way that lightning are explained to children in kind and easy way and that avoid to frighten them.


message 3: by Julie (new)

Julie Cai | 4 comments I partially agree with Frey. The poet's point of view is that the truth is a good thing, but people need to tell the truth gradually in order for not hurting people. The poet stated "The Truth must dazzle gradually/
Or every man be blind-"(Dickinson 7-8) in the poem. This sentence is basically saying that if people tell the truth frankly, the truth would be like lightning. It would freak people out and make people blind. They must say the truth to people indirectly and gradually like "As Lightning to the Children eased" (Dickinson 5). Therefore, people can accept the truth. In this way, the truth would be a harmless thing to people.


message 4: by Frey (new)

Frey Babe | 9 comments Human is a creature who is not that perfect and the truth is too pure for our essential and inherent weakness. So we cannot bear too much truth and reality.


message 5: by Julie (new)

Julie Cai | 4 comments I believe the poet is also saying that the "truth" is a theory, and people have different determinations for it. The truth might be different to everybody. People must speak out to express their truth. But as long as they express it, the original objective truth would become a subjective point of view. Therefore, people need to express their "truth" gradually in order to not hurting others because their truth might not be a objective thing.


message 6: by Julie (new)

Julie Cai | 4 comments I think differently as Frey. Although the "truth" is a pure thing, but the "truth" which people express is subjective.


message 7: by Frey (new)

Frey Babe | 9 comments I'm not saying the truth that people express is objective. Just the way that telling the subjective truth should be indirect because the essence of people is not that pure and strong enough to handle the truth...


message 8: by Frey (new)

Frey Babe | 9 comments This poem will demonstrated in my first chapter which is "Who I was". The reason why I choose this poem because of my experience.
When I arrived at DAIS, there were weak, simple relation bonds established between me and my peers because we all new, confused and starved for companionship, in short, we all needed each other and we all same. However, gradually I realized the huge gaps and differences existed among individuals which is really hard to use our own standard to judge other's behavior and thought. Unfortunately, such simple principle is kinda hard to understand when I was a stubborn freshman. I corrected all the thing that not fitted to me and acerbically pointed out my friends' "defect". Even I was right, the cruel truth made my friends' "blind". Our friendship broke up.


message 9: by Jay (new)

Jay Goodman | 5 comments Mod
Frey wrote: "I'm not saying the truth that people express is objective. Just the way that telling the subjective truth should be indirect because the essence of people is not that pure and strong enough to hand..."

This is a really interesting connection. Expand on this idea. What lines in the poem connect to specific experiences? Can different interpretations of the poem represent different perspectives on your life?


message 10: by James (new)

James Zhang | 1 comments In 《The Great Gatsby》, Gatsby is a person who is good at building spiritual world for himself, he wants to get Daisy back and have a perfect life as he considering. Actually, facts are brutal, he cannot occupy all of the memories in Daisy's life; he only becomes rich facially but not inside. Gatsby is a boy born from a poor family, he can change his social identity but not himself. All of his efforts are dedicating on change his identity, but he still losses at last. "Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies" These two sentences from the poem "Tell all the truth but tell it slant " mean instilling truth to others needs process, it's the product of time, if you try to spoil things by excessive enthusiasm, the result will become the opposite to your wishes. This proves why Gatsby lose everything at last, he only cares about the perfect world in his spiritual level, he will not get this end if he knows the meaning of satisfy. This poem focuses on the theme of truth, more specifically, truth is an active process, the acceptance needs time and process. To a certain extent, truth and identity have similarities, truth is the foundation of identity.


message 11: by Robert (new)

Robert Xu | 3 comments In the poetry the way of telling the truth is like stairs. It is hard to skip a few of stairs. It is also like a child should learn how to climb first, and then walk, run. Sometimes, other people tell you a truth without bad faith. But you will feel angry, the reason is telling directly does not give subjective enough time to believe the truth. This truth is far away from the truth in your mind.


message 12: by Robert (new)

Robert Xu | 3 comments Frey wrote: "Human is a creature who is not that perfect and the truth is too pure for our essential and inherent weakness. So we cannot bear too much truth and reality."

I totally agree with your idea. Human is emotional and minded creature, before we know the truth, we always have a good direction of the truth. After we get the truth directly, maybe we can accept the totally different results.


message 13: by Crystal (new)

Crystal | 5 comments I agree with Julie's idea that we should tell the truth gradually to others so that we will not hurt them. What I want to add to this idea is that we should also tell truth to ourselves in a gradual way so that ourselves will not be harmed. The sentence "too bright for our infirm delight" (Dickinson 3) uses metaphor, comparing the truth with light. It is "too bright" because it can harm people, and "infirm delight" shows that humans' emotions are sometimes extremely unstable and can be changed easily. Therefore, when telling all the truth to a person at a time, he would probably be not able to stand that and some of his ideas and beliefs might change in a negative way. This poem is especially interesting to me because it offers an answer to a question I am currently wondering. To me, truth means the difficulties I would meet in my way studying biology. Through my experience in college application, I have an idea about the difficulties I would meet in college and the how much competition there would be, but I am not quite sure how fierce the competition will be. I have been choosing between giving myself a lot of challenges as I entered university and starting from the easy tasks and gradually add challenges. The poem teaches me that it is not a good idea to present all the difficulties at a time; for example, although I still want to challenge myself, it would be better for me to not choose a large number of extremely hard classes during my first quarter of freshman year. If I do not do it in this way, as the poem states, there might be too much challenges for me to bear, and I might lose all the confidence at once and completely destroy my future.


message 14: by Crystal (new)

Crystal | 5 comments I have a question. Dickson writes "success in circuit lies" (2) as well as "The Truth must dazzle gradually" (7). However, in my point of view, these are two totally different approaches. The former is to used lies to make people accept truth more easily, but the latter means to offer others a shallow level of truth first and to get deeper and deeper gradually (but no lies in this way). To me, it would be possible for the poet to express her idea clearly using only one way of the two. Why do you think she offers two solutions? Do you think she has a preference between the two?


message 15: by Crystal (new)

Crystal | 5 comments Personally, I do not agree with Julie's idea that people should express their personal idea of the truth in a gradual way so that others will not be hurt by their subjective feeling. To me, what we should express gradually is not our own ideas about truth, but the objective truth itself. In Dickinson's poem, the lines that proves this is that "As Lightning to the Children eased / With explanation kind"(5-6). Here, truth is compared to lighting, and the expression of truth is referred as "explanation kind". It is clear that the person who explains what lighting is knows objectively what it is; he does not have an biased idea of how this phenomenon occurs. Similarly, truth should be as objective as the scientific explanation of lightning. What Dickinson says is to tell people the universal law, but not the speaker's personal view of them, step by step.


message 16: by Simon (new)

Simon Song | 1 comments Crystal wrote: "I have a question. Dickson writes "success in circuit lies" (2) as well as "The Truth must dazzle gradually" (7). However, in my point of view, these are two totally different approaches. The forme..."
I think these are not two solutions but the different parts of one solution. Since the real truth is only one, people need to first change it in "circuit lies" so that "dazzle" can be "gradually". In this way, people need to shape the truth into a lie and separate them into pieces so that it won't hurt others.


message 17: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Yang | 2 comments From my perspective, I think we should not tell the truth directly. The reason for that is very simple and transparent: people will get hurt from it. Sometimes, we need to acquire a kind of skill which is see through without breaking. Everyone have their own self-respect, we do have rights to tell them what's right what's wrong, but we do not have rights to take over or break down their self-respect. No one would prefer that kind of feelings. We are human, we are not god. Yes, sometimes god makes mistakes so why can't we make mistakes? I remember deeply that my friends, Amanda, got something wrong (misunderstanding someone and using bad words to abuse others). I want to tell her the truth but I realize maybe I would hurt her feelings because I'm her best friend. Therefore, I tried to find a time that we are both with good moods then tell her the truth about the things she misunderstanding. She said she was very appreciate for not telling her the truth and made she embarrass in front of people's eyes. Therefore, I realize that we all have to tell the truth but we can choose a appropriate time to tell it out because if people are angry or with bad moods, they all want to hear and understand the things they want to but not the truth. It's important for us to tell the truth and make the people that we wish to know the truth really understand it. Otherwise the truth we want to tell is not worthy and probably the relationship will be broke.


message 18: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Yang | 2 comments Frey wrote: "I'm not saying the truth that people express is objective. Just the way that telling the subjective truth should be indirect because the essence of people is not that pure and strong enough to hand..."

Absolutely, I agree with you. Because the goal for telling the truth is make people understand and know what we are telling. If people do not pay any attention to the truth you want to tell, anything you say is useless. " The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind"(7-8). Just like this part of the poem, it's basically saying that we cannot directly telling out the truth in "one sentence". We should give some bedding before say it all out. We need to give people time to digest and think about so that people can accept the truth. However, if the truth had been told out at once, then people maybe get shock and it may cause bad influence instead. For instance, if you know someone is suffer from cancer and she or he don't have much time to live, you should not tell the patient directly like saying" you have cancer and you will be die in about a week." That's not helping at all. Maybe the patient will give up on living and die with full of pain and despair. Instead, we can say although the illness is bad but we still get a chance to cure it. Then the patient will have confidence to fight for it. That's telling the truth!


message 19: by Jay (new)

Jay Goodman | 5 comments Mod
How does this poem connect to the theme of identity? Both thematically and personally? Why did you choose to focus on this poem?


message 20: by Joy (new)

Joy Guo | 2 comments Jay wrote: "Frey wrote: "I'm not saying the truth that people express is objective. Just the way that telling the subjective truth should be indirect because the essence of people is not that pure and strong e..."

I think the line "As Lightning to the Children eased" is a case of how people act when exposed to truth and it makes me to think about lying. Sometimes people lie and not telling the truth to protect others which I think is a different way to interpret the poem.


message 21: by Crystal (new)

Crystal | 5 comments Simon wrote: "Crystal wrote: "I have a question. Dickson writes "success in circuit lies" (2) as well as "The Truth must dazzle gradually" (7). However, in my point of view, these are two totally different appro..."


To Simon's answer to my question, I agree with what you think. The lines "As Lightning to the Children eased / With explanation kind" (5-6) makes the answer clear. When thinking about it, it is not hard to recall that when lightening frightens children, what parents usually do is to tell a lie to them to make them not afraid. Later, as the children grow up, they will know the truth behind lightening. Similarly, as with the general term of "truth", the explanation can start with a lie and allow the listening to find the real truth by themselves later on.


message 22: by Crystal (new)

Crystal | 5 comments Jay wrote: "How does this poem connect to the theme of identity? Both thematically and personally? Why did you choose to focus on this poem?"


Telling the truth in a slanted way can be a way to protect our identity. Dickinson writes that we need to tell the truth in a gradual way otherwise "every man be blind" (8). The word "blind" means that the listeners are not able to stand the truth, and therefore, they are greatly harmed. If we tell too much to ourselves at once, this is probably what is going to happen to us as well; some of our beliefs might change because of the harm, and this can change our identity. It makes me remember one of my own experiences. Once I was quite into math, and my math scores were usually high. I was extremely confident at this subject; therefore, I chose to take part in a math competition called HMMT. However, the competition was much more harder than I once expected. It was an awful experience when I did not know how to do the questions but my rivals could get the answers easily. Sadly, my confidence in math was completely destroyed. Day by day, maybe because of my lack of confidence, I found math less and less interesting. It is a great pity. Now I now that if I did not try from something easy directly to something extremely hard, the result would be different. If I have the chance to go back, I would try things a little bit harder and gradually increase the difficulty, which is what Dickinson suggests to not tell all the difficulties to myself at once. My identity clearly changed because of this failure. Thus, I think if I used Dickinson's idea about gradually telling the truth, I might be able to protect my identity as someone loving math.

What do you think of this question:
If we tell the truth in a slanted way to others, can their identity be protected? Can their identity be changed?


message 23: by Frey (new)

Frey Babe | 9 comments To answer Mr. Goodman question:
"Frey wrote: 'I'm not saying the truth that people express is objective. Just the way that telling the subjective truth should be indirect because the essence of people is not that pure and strong enough to hand...'
This is a really interesting connection. Expand on this idea. What lines in the poem connect to specific experiences? Can different interpretations of the poem represent different perspectives on your life? "

reply |*
The sentence that connect to my own experience is "Too bright for our infirm Delight. The Truth's superb surprise"


message 24: by Frey (new)

Frey Babe | 9 comments Robert wrote "In the poetry the way of telling the truth is like stairs. It is hard to skip a few of stairs. It is also like a child should learn how to climb first, and then walk, run." Nice simile. Help me a lot for further understanding about the poem.


message 25: by Frey (new)

Frey Babe | 9 comments I agree with Crystal's view. Not only about telling the truth. We have to do something progressively in our life like choosing the classes in the college. Don't choose the hard major that you can't even hand. Give ourselves time and chance to adapt rather than "be blind".


message 26: by Ariane (new)

Ariane Ning | 6 comments From my perspective, the main thing that the author wanted to tell us is we need to tell the truth but we can not directly say the truth. Sometimes, truth may hurt people and we can not say the truth by hurting others. All we can do is to say it gradually and say it in a circuitous way. For instance, in "The Great Gatsby", Nick is a main character and he is the only one who knows everything in the book. Also, he is Gatsby's friend and Daisy's cousin. He knows that the person who killed Tom's lover is not Gatsby but Daisy. He did not tell the truth. Also, he knows that Daisy loved Tom and will never be back to Gatsby. He still hide the secret. He chose not to tell the truth because he did not want to hurt Gatsby's feeling. He knew Gatsby so much and he knew how much Gatsby loved Daisy. However, at the end, before Gatsby's death, he still did not know Daisy has totally changed to another girl and Daisy will not be back. In my opinion, Nick did the wrong thing. Even though he did not wanted to hurt Gatsby but the lies indirectly cause Gatsby's death. Therefore, Nick really need to tell Gatsby truth but it should be in a circuitous way.


message 27: by Frey (new)

Frey Babe | 9 comments To answer Crystal's question"If we tell the truth in a slanted way to others, can their identity be protected? Can their identity be changed?"

reply |
I think yes, it will. That's a very interesting idea.


message 28: by Ariane (new)

Ariane Ning | 6 comments I have a question: sometimes truth may hurt people, and lies can make people feel good. However, should we keep saying the truth to hurt others or telling the lies to "protect" others?


message 29: by Aimee (new)

Aimee Wu | 4 comments I also want to add that it depends on the situation we have. Sometimes we can't tell the truth and we need to protect someone or something. But sometimes we need to tell the truth because of justice or something else.


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