Given that 1862 is considered one of Dickinson’s most productive years, it is of no surprise that Fr 344 “Twas Just This Time, Last Year, I Died” was published that year. This poem is also a harvest and death poem. The posthumous speaker recalls the autumnal imagery and her funeral. While she imagines what this year’s season must feel like without her, she eventuall...
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...n Civil War occurred. In the same year as the poem, President Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and the famous Battle of Gettysburg ensured. These historical events of the war echo in her poem, though they are shrouded in poetic language. In addition to that, it displays the raw emotion of feeling survivor’s guilt for having survived one of America’s the bloodiest wars. This emotion coupled with grief creates a somber and bitter tone that judges whether or not these “pawns of liberty” and saviors of the emancipation truly knew the cost that they paid dearly in (Dickinson 238). This poem uses Greek references of Sparta’s famous 300 at the battle of Thermopylae and Cleopatra’s protest of wealth, as well as depictions of soldiers as Christ-like figures (Dandurand 20). These allusions present a somber, yet hopeful, literary response to the Civil War.
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