Summary of Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant By Emily Dickinson

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Tell all the truth but tell it slant is a very small poem but it is packed with very dense meaning. In this article, we will provide the summary of ‘Tell all the truth but tell it slant. 

Like almost all the poems by Emily Dickinson, this poem also does not have a title and it was never meant to be published.

Tell All the Truth but tell it slant by Emily Dickinson

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —

Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth’s superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased

With explanation kind

The Truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind —

Summary of Tell All the Truth but tell it slant

The poem is about the nature of truth and how it must be delivered to people who want it, or who are not aware of it. Dickinson says that one must tell all the truth, but tell it in a slant way. 

What does ‘slant’ mean? ‘Slant’ means that truth must not be told directly and all at once, especially if the truth is shocking or overwhelming. 

Dickinson says that the bright shine of truth is too bright for our infirm delight. This is a metaphor indicating that our insecurities, our hopes, and our illusions are too frail. 

Truth can be so impactful that it can easily destroy the false perceptions we have. It could lead to unwanted consequences. Many people would just refuse to believe in the truth.

The poetess says that success lies in circuits meaning that one must go round and round and slowly deliver the truth instead of being on point and giving it all at once. 

Going around in a circuit can take away truth’s brute force and make it easier for people to digest. 

Then the speaker gives us an example of how to deal with and deliver truth. She tells us that just the way we explain the phenomena of lightning to children with some kind of explanation, truth must be delivered in such kind ways.

Then the final two lines of the poem tell us about the dangers of direct truth. Dickinson tells us that the shine of truth must dazzle gradually or everyone will be blind. 

This metaphor serves perfectly. Truth can be extremely overwhelming, especially when people are used to living in the darkness of lies. 

The impact of the truth would be so powerful that it would completely disorient people. Something so shocking that it can lead to chaos and ‘blindness.’

Truth is so bright and powerful that it is hard for most people, no, for all people to take it all at once. 

Truth must be shown gradually, slowly. Only then can it be completely and effectively taken. If not then truth brings chaos and does the opposite of what it is supposed to do. 

That ends the summary of this wonderful poem. Also, read the complete and detailed analysis of Tell All The Truth But Tell it Slant