7

3rd stanza:

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

I've heard of attempts justifying an allegory to the nursery rhyme "Ring a Ring o' Roses", referring to the Great Plague (I am not convinced). In constrast, an article "Where children strove at recess" by David Leverenz treats this as a kind of confinement: 'inorganic ring of the setting sun' and 'my perspectives need a wider ring than the psychoanalytical schoolyard offers'. Some other interpretations I found were:

'through the cycle of their existence, "in a ring"' - Richard Chase
'absorbed 'in the Ring' of childhood's games' - Charles R. Anderson
...

(I found these other examples from http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dickinson/712.htm; ctrl+f: " Ring")

What are some ways to weigh the possibilities and pin down the exact meaning and effective consequences of the usage of this?

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