Two Worlds of the Speaker

The poem “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed” by Emily Dickenson depicts the conflict of the speaker based on inner sufferings and separation from society. The poem immediately draws the reader’s attention making one to join the state of the protagonist. It is evident that the poet is a speaker, who represents her personal perception of the existent world through the use of alcohol. Thus, the speaker portrays her relationships with the surrounding while concentrating on the way she drinks due to inability to oppose reality.

In the poem “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed”, Dickinson demonstrates herself as the speaker, who has lost herself, and alcohol contributes to her desperate state. From the very beginning of the plot, the reader understands that the author is the speaker, who wants to attract one’s attention because of her solitude. The first line “I taste a liquor never brewed” proves that every detail refers to the poet. In fact, the author uses the first person constantly to emphasize that everything is connected with her miserable experience. It is possible to assume that a woman shares her emotions and feelings, because she needs someone’s support and even care. It is hard to understand why the woman drinks, and what forces her o act like a man. Thus, the primary reasons make the reader learn the most significant causes of the speaker’s behavior.


The speaker makes considerable attempts to confuse the reader illustrating a deep concept of a drunkard. It seems that the woman tries to deceive both the reader and herself by pretending to be an inveterate drinker. The words “Inebriate of air am I,/ And debauchee of dew” show that the woman intensively tries to resemble a person, who constantly attends the taverns. It is difficult to believe that she is familiar with the life of those, who waste much of their time for nothing. Moreover, it is understandable that the speaker’s background reveals that she belongs to upper class as she knows the taste of an expensive wine. Eventually, the reader starts thinking that the woman has an irresistible desire to entrap him/her by an obvious deception. Even if she indicates about her so-called negative experience referred to alcohol, the words “air” and “dew” define her nature, which just searches for the meaning of life among the rest of the world. She uses them and other images “to express the feelings of her inner world and the profundity of the philosophy”. The point is that a real inebriate never pays attention to such things as air or dew; these are important only for the person, who values life.

The speaker keeps something in secret, and alcohol is nothing more than a tool to hide her nature through mystery. The lines “Reeling, through endless summer days,/ From inns of molten blue” also confirm that she keeps in mind some glorious summer days, which are full of happiness. Nothing is said that summer is connected with sad events. On the other hand, it sounds confusing as the speaker wanders from one hotel to another. The question of her attitude towards life still remains unanswered. Additionally, the reader does not realize what exact issues make the speaker to focus on alcohol as she mentions “seraphs” and “saints”. Perhaps, it means that the woman has moral and spiritual values, but she intends to mask her real nature. 

In conclusion, “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed” by Emily Dickenson is a literary masterpiece, which reflects the relationships between the speaker, nature, and society. The woman observes the world, and namely, alcohol helps her to learn the sense of life. Undoubtedly, the speaker wants to unite with nature, but her personal conflict does not allow her to become an integral part of a perfect union.

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