I am Nobody! Who are You?
Then there's a pair of us!
They'd banish us-you know!
How dreary-to be-Somebody!
How public-like a Frog-
To tell your name-
The livelong June-
To an admiring Bog!
A university professor begins an article in the Kyeongyang magazine with the above short poem by Emily Dickinson. The article deals with changes in society and the aspirations of the young people in comparison to the past and some of the reasons for the changes.
Young people no longer dream about the glorious and prominent positions in society, but rather the secure ones such as civil servants. We should all be dreamers, young and the old, but the young early on are frustrated in their attempts to go to the schools they want. Many enter their 20s with great deprivations. After college, if they get a job, they have other serious problems: marriage, housing, children. They are a nobody who desires to be somebody, but they are overcome with defeat and a feeling of inferiority and lack dreams.
In the poem, the poet asks: I am nobody who are you? Humbling herself to the readers she draws them to herself. We are a pair. This oneness with the reader becomes a secret they share. Why keep the secret to ourselves? She answers that it is an important secret, for those who seek to be famous will consider us, who are satisfied as nobodies—a threat.
Those who want to be nobodies are going against the flow of society are dangerous and subversive. We only have to look at Jesus to see what happens in such cases.
This poem not only admires the simple life but also shows how the famous can make their values seep into the purpose of life. In the last segment,we hear about the frog which makes itself known to the admiring swamp always croaking with nothing to say. The swamps are the admirers, that make the frog feel important. It's better to be a nobody than this dreary, limited kind of life.
We have those who silently, courageously move ahead one step at a time. Nobodies, who risk their lives; what makes them do it? Is it work for justice, truth or love? Each one with their convictions, station in life, silent, without names, lead us. There are, of course the traitors and the corrupt, but many more who with sacrifice, courage and love are opening our eyes. I am a nobody you are a nobody but we move along haltingly but move ahead.