An analysis I wrote up for school if you need something to look off of.

A Bird Came Down the Walk

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,–
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.

The Poem “A Bird Came Down the Walk” by Emily Dickenson describes the simple experience of watching a bird hop down a path. The speaker depicts the bird and its actions throughout the poem, providing us with vivid imagery. The poem makes me feel and experience the simplistic yet beautiful aspects of nature. Dickenson creates the mood of the poem by detailing the sequence of activities a bird goes through as simple as they may be, she then turns the description into a poetic endeavour though imagery and contrast.

            The first three stanzas of the poem are reasonably interchangeable since they describe three events that could occur in any order when watching birds. This being said the order they are in works well, provides a strong introduction and produces an enhanced understanding of the poem for readers. Stanza’s four and five describe the speaker offering the bird a crumb of food, the startled response of the bird and the departure of the bird as it takes flight gracefully. These are not interchangeable stanzas as these two events rely on cause and effect as she attempt to provide food and gets a startled response. The poem can be broken up into two sections consisting of the first three and last two stanzas. The first section establishes a mood and tone for the narrative of the poem by detailing the actions of the bird and the last section illustrates the effect of human interaction on the bird.

            The author’s attitude towards the subject matter of the poem seems rather serious. The voice throughout the poem seems panicky and cautious not unlike the bird. “He glanced with rapid eyes” shows the panicked state of the bird, also “Like one in danger; cautious, I offered him a crumb” articulates the cautious state of the speaker. The line breaks of the poem are choppy and abrupt providing the reader with a sense of motion, change and rapid activity throughout. There is no apparent usage of sound to emphasize the poem and no direct examples of alliteration or assonance.

            Metaphors in this poem are scarce, until the last two stanzas. In the fourth stanza a simile occurs “He glanced with rapid eyes…they looked like frightened beads” in which the birds darting eyes are compared with beads that are afraid. The simile is effective because like a bird’s eyes, a bead is also very small and the rapid movements of the bird’s eyes could infer that he is frightened. The last stanza in the poem is a complete metaphor comparing the bird’s smoothness in flight to oars splitting the ocean and butterflies leaping from banks. The speaker asserts that the bird is smoother and more elegant than both these images. Dickenson creates an incredibly effective mixed land and sea metaphor in the final stanza. The images provided are smooth, elegant and the contrast generates an elusive quality. However, if the bird Dickenson observed taking flight is smoother and more elegant than the imagery provided then the moment Dickenson found in the event was profound.

The main goal of this poem is to show the simplistic beauty of nature through words. The author does this by taking this everyday event and elaborating on it to create beautiful images and pseudo sensory experiences in mind and spirit.

Liked it
  • ZOHRA RAJAN on Feb 6, 2012

    Great Analysis!! Really helped me! =)

  • monzy on Feb 11, 2012

    beautiful, am studying this for my AS English lit!

  • Charlotte Aimee on Apr 20, 2012

    Really good analysis, helped me a lot with my AS English! Thanks!

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