"After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes" by Emily Dickinson is a somber poem describing the essence of death as a formal occasion that is the culmination of a sad and perhaps useless life. Throughout "After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes"; Dickinson employs many nuances, such as imagery, symbolism, and irony. Various parts of the body are personified as if they were their own entities. The Nerves, after death, sit ceremonious, like Tombs referring to the often stiff and useless ceremonies in life. The Heart asks whether it could be possible that it even ever existed, because now it, too, is useless. When the speaker refers to the Feet, the poem takes a truly somber feeling when one realizes that they are personifications of the whole body were just going through the motions of life and had no real meaning and use. Accordingly, the line, "This is the Hour of Lead" brings images of ultimate finality and closure to the reader by portraying the burial Death is referenced as the Hour of Lead; as cold, hard, and unchangeable as metal. For example, Dickinson offers a dramatic image of the funeral service taking place. The mechanical movements of pallbearers are intensely represented by her use of stunning language. To advance the depressing interpretation of a life as somber as death, the speaker refers to Freezing persons letting go, which is death, but even life is described as Chill. This gives the reader a really sad impression that life is simply a mechanical moving of feet, pounding of heart -all cold and ceremonious and full of "great pain" followed by death. Symbolism is also unmistakable in that Dickinson states, "A Quartz contentment, like a stone", is actually referring to the serenity that follows great suffering.
Elements of despair are particularly obvious in the poem, "After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes." Emily Dickinson led a difficult life which left her alone.