I’m “wife” — I’ve finished that Poem by Emily Dickinson Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English for Students


The poem “I’m “wife” — I’ve finished that ” was written by Emily Dickinson. The poet talks about the life of a woman. The poem was written in the year 1860. But it was later published in a poetry collection named “Poems’ ‘ in the year 1890.

About the Poet:

Emily Dickinson was an American poet. During her period she was regarded as one of the most important poets of American poetry. She had written nearly 1800 poems. Most of the poems were unpublished in her lifetime. Emily Dickinson redefined American poetry with her unique writing style.In most of her poems she used unique line breaks and unexpected rhymes. Some of her famous poems are “Because I could not stop for death”, “Success is counted sweetest”, “I’m nobody”.


The poem “I’m “wife” — I’ve finished that ” consists of three quatrain or stanza of four lines each. Thus  there are twelve lines in total.


The poet has used iambic trimeter and iambic dimeter in the poem.

Speaker of the poem:

The poet herself is the speaker of the poem. The poem is written from the first person point of view.

I’m “wife” — I’ve finished that

Poem analysis:

Stanza 1:

Lines 1-4:

I'm "wife" — I've finished that —

That other state —

I'm Czar — I'm "Woman" now —

It's safer so —

The speaker of the poem declares that she has finished the job as a wife. The speaker represents all the women who are following the ancient ways to obey men. A woman plays many roles in her life. During her childhood she plays the role of daughter and obeys her father. Later she plays the role of wife and obeys her husband. So, throughout her lifetime a woman is made to please the men. Now, the speaker felt exhausted with her life, so finally she declares her refusal to be a wife. She declares that she is only a woman now. Now, she is an independent woman. She feels safe now.

Stanza 2:

Lines 5-8:

How odd the Girl's life looks

Behind this soft Eclipse —

I think that Earth feels so

To folks in Heaven — now —

The speaker of the poem feels worried about the life of the woman. Throughout her life a girl lives under the protection of men. Thus, she is referring to this protection as “eclipse”. But there are certain men who understand this and behave in a supportive manner. 

Stanza 3:

Lines 9-12:

This being comfort — then

That other kind — was pain —

But why compare?

I'm "Wife"! Stop there!

The speaker in the last stanza talks about contrasting ideas. In the first two lines she talks about the comfortness of women living under the protection of men. In the next line she says how difficult it is to lead a life on her own. Hence, she chooses a different partner and remarries. But this time she is clear in her role which is indicated in the last line of the poem “I’m “Wife “! Stop there!”. Here, the word “Wife” starts with the capital letter to emphasise the change in her role.