The poem Title Divine-is mine! by Emily Dickinson conveys the frustrations of an unmarried woman. It is concerned with the fact that women seem to have only three significant parts to their lives; birth, marriage, and death. But what if one doesn't get married? Does this mean the woman has no title? Is this woman insignificant? The poem toys with the fact that god may not find a woman significant unless she is married; The narrator in the poem wants to have the title of a wife, even though she does not have "the sign" of marriage, or a ring. In this poem, the literary devices of tone, allusion, and trope, all build on each other to express the frustration and anger that a woman's relationship with god is dependent on her marital status.
A poem's tone is the attitude that is implied to the reader. This poem's usage of 'em dashes' and exclamation points successfully guide the reader to read the poem with an aggressive tone. The poem begins, "Title divine-is mine! The Wife-without the sign!" (Dickinson 1-2). With use of rhythm and rhyme, the poem already gives the reader a sense of the poem's mood, which is harsh and sarcastic. The 'em dashes' force the reader to pause, giving an abrupt tone to the phrase. Instead of using a comma, or a less severe punctuation mark, the poem uses these dashes, which disrupt the flow of the sentences. The exclamation points show the reader the strong voice of the narrator as well. This initial strong voice sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Without the rough punctuation, the voice would seem passive and vulnerable. For example, in lines 4 and 5 the narrator shouts, "Empress of Calvary! Royal-all but the crown!" Without the punctuation, the tone of this statement would not be seen as assertive and confident, but rather it would seem as if the narrator is discouraged with the fact that she has no physical proof that she is "royal".