Looking at “Fame is a fickle food”

 Emily Dickinson starts off this poem, “Fame is a fickle food,” with a simile comparing fame to a fickle food.  The adjective fickle means likely to change, especially due to instability or caprice; therefore, this food is always changing.  What about the food is changing?  That is left open for interpretation.  It could be the color, the taste, the type of food, or anything in between.  Fame= a fickle food; therefore, fame is ever changing; it can have a good taste and a bad aftertaste.  In simple terms fame can start off positively and end up the complete opposite.  The experience of fame is metaphorically compared to a table.  The first time there is a slight experience of fame–it is looked at like a guest.  You never know if it was specifically a one-time thing or if it could happen over and over again.  However, the second time that it occurs it is set–meaning the feeling of fame embeds itself on the individual, who then becomes “fame struck.”  Metaphorically, the crows represent “the little people” who are always inspecting and looking at the little crumbs of the fame struck person.  This happens all the time in the life of celebrities–the viewers are scrutinizing and inspecting all of the celebrities “crumbs.”  All these crumbs are merely tiny pieces of who the celebrities actually are.  These crumbs are just leftovers from the main course or the backbone of the celebrity’s fame.  We ignore everyone around us–the other crows and we pay attention to “the farmer,” or the celebrity who has eaten this food.  Although this food in the beginning appears good, it has a poisonous effect.  “Men eat of it and die.” 

FAME is a fickle food  
Upon a shifting plate,  
Whose table once a Guest, but not  
The second time, is set.  
Whose crumbs the crows inspect,         5
And with ironic caw  
Flap past it to the Farmer’s corn;  
Men eat of it and die

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