Emily Dickinson – Fame is a Fickle Food

Fame is a Fickle Food

The title “Fame is a Fickle Food” is a metaphor to suggest that fame is temporary. Alliteration is created by the repetition of the letter f to further imply that there is a relationship between “fame” and “fickle food”, two words that are not commonly connected. This phrase is also the first line of the poem to emphasize that it is not permanent. Dickinson then continues in that direction by saying that popularity is on a “shifting plate” to suggest that it is not predictable or eternal. The first time someone experiences fame, it is looked at as “a guest”, as it is an unfamiliar yet welcomed experience. Whereas the “second time”, the “crows inspect” the crumbs yet “flap past it”. Crows are scavengers who never miss a chance to eat, yet they reject the food crumbs representing fame. Thus, this implies that too much fame is undesirable, or even dangerous to one’s well-being. The last line further proves this point, as the poet says those who “eat of it die”.

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