“There’s a certain slant of light”

MAX: “There’s a certain slant of light, winter afternoons, that oppresses like the heft of cathedral tunes.” That, my friends is the first verse of a poem by Emily Dickinson. Now read some of those tonight, and as you do, consider the fact that Emily Dickinson writes convincingly about passion and about the world in spite of the fact that she lived as a virtual recluse. It’ll help you appreciate her mind.

Max is reading from the Emily Dickinson poem identified by its first line, There’s a certain slant of light, numbered as 258 in her collected works. It was written around 1861, although not published until after her death.

The poem is about the oppression and even despair brought on by the bleak New England winter. Max and Lorelai began their relationship on the first snowfall of the year – something which for Lorelai is imbued with an almost magical sense of joy and expectation.

As Max reads from this poem which describes the sense of impending doom and death brought on by winter, we can feel that their relationship is about to become much colder. We might also remember that on the day Max first asked Lorelai on a date, he mentioned her icy attitude toward him. Now is the time for that frosty snow queen to reawaken.

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