Death is often thought of as a morbid or mysterious subject. Authors and poets spend their lives exploring the questions of what happens when a person dies and what lies beyond death. From the billowy heavens in the Bible to Dante’s many rings of Inferno, no one else has quite the same view as Emily Dickinson on this subject. Through her elliptical poems Dickinson paints various views of death that reveal her multifaceted outlook. She uses different methods to gain insight into the nature of death by processing through the physical aspects of death in “I hear a fly buzz—when I died”, personifying death in “Because I could not stop for death”, and reconciling death and immortality in “Behind me dips—Eternity”. All of these poems create a better understanding of Emily Dickinson’s views of death.
During Dickinson’s life, death was something that happened quite often and was never far from her thought. Her house was beside the local cemetery, and, with the Civil War raging, the graveyard always seemed to have a fresh plot. This is where she spent almost her entire life. Emily was born on December 10, 1830 in the “sleepy village” of Amherst, Massachusetts that was dominated by “church and college” (Dickinson, Emily). Here she spent her childhood years playing with her brother Austin and sister Lavinia and would later spend her adult years gardening and writing in solitude (Dickinson, Emily). Her isolation gave the impression of being reclusive and antisocial. Emily Dickinson did, however, go off to school and graduated from Amherst Academy in 1947 before coming back to her childhood home and becoming “a more than ordinary observer of Amherst life” (Dickinson, Emily). Her voluntary seclusion was not b...
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Anderson, Charles R. "The Trap of Time in Emily Dickinson's Poetry." ELH 26.3 (1959): 402-24. JSTOR. Web. 28 Mar. 2012.
Anderson, John Q. "Heaven Beguiles the Tired: Death in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson." Rev. of Book. The South Central Bulletin 27.1 (1967): 30-31. JSTOR. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.
Chuan, Xiao -. "Death and Immortality: The Everlasting Themes." Canadian Social Science 5.5 (2009): 96-99. CSCanada. Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture, 2 July 2009. Web. 27 Mar. 2011.
“Dickinson, Emily (1830-1886).” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 27. Mar. 2012.
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