“The Mountains — grow unnoticed —”

The Mountains—grow unnoticed—
Their Purple figures rise
Without attempt—Exhaustion—
Assistance—or Applause—

In Their Eternal Faces
The Sun—with just delight
Looks long—and last—and golden—
For fellowship—at night—

“The Mountains—grow unnoticed —” was discovered and numbered in the 34th fascicle1 in 1926 and was first published in The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson in 1929 by Little Brown. Dickinson lived across from the Pelham Hills in Amherst, Massachusetts, most likely the great “Purple figures” who rise and grow without recognition.

The mountains do not require the attention of acknowledgment of others and it is something that could be said in relation to Dickinson’s feelings on recognition. The use of the word “Purple” suggests a similar growth of man. Purple during the times of Monarchy could only be worn by those of royal lineage which can be perceived as though the growth of mountains exceeds the significance of that of man. Also, unlike the average person, the mountains do not require the recognition which is usually in correlation with personal achievement. Individuals tend to require recognition for their deeds, while the mountains, “Their Purple figures rise / Without attempt — Exhaustion — / Assistance — or Applause —.” The same color can also pertain to different aspects of life as well, and purple is an important color to those who are concerned with spirituality because it is the color of infinite consciousness of yourself and everything around you. The major relation to this is Dickinson’s creation of the mountains “Eternal Faces.” The term eternal, meaning to last or exist forever; without an end or beginning, is a direct relation to the color purple and the concept of the infinite consciousness.

Dickinson continues to bring attention to the mountains, which can be viewed as deceitful because the mountains do not require attention. She brings in the power of the sun and its longing relationship to the mountains whose “eternal faces” in turn become illuminated. “The Sun — with just delight / Looks long — and last — and golden — / For fellowship — at night —.” The relationship between the sun and the mountains is opposite of the conventional. Instead of bringing life to the mountains, they themselves create and sustain the friendship which the sun seeks fellowship within.

—Shane Merritt

Note Dorothy Huff Oberhaus explains the use of the term “fascicles” when referring to Dickinson’s poems. “Although the poems of Emily Dickinson remained virtually unpublished during her lifetime, she did engage in a private kind of self-publication from about 1858 to 1864. During those years, she made copies of more than eight hundred of her poems, gathered them into forty groups, and bound each of these gatherings together with string to form booklets. While she sometimes sent a friend a copy of one of the poems from the booklets, there is no evidence that she showed them in their bound form to anyone.” See Emily Dickinson’s Fascicles: Method and Meaning (Pittsburgh: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1995). A critical discussion of the organization of the poems in the fascicles appears in Sharon Cameron, Choosing Not Choosing: Dickinson’s Fascicles (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1993).

Bibliography and Further Reading Neeru Tandon. Thematic Patterns of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry (New Delhi, Atlantic & Distributors, 2008. Print); “The Publication Question” (Emily Dickinson Museum, 2013. Web).

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