Essay on Emily Dickinson: Creating an Identity for Women

Essay on Emily Dickinson: Creating an Identity for Women

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Emily Dickinson can be described as a hermit, living within the walls of her family home for great lengths of time (Young 76). Though this may have been seen as insanity, it has also been described as “an uncompromising commitment to artistic expression” and “as an attempt to undermine the restrictive masculine culture of her time” (Gale 49). This along with her failure to conform to poetic styles of her time, demonstrate Dickinson’s “desire to defy social and gender conventions of her day” (Gale 49). During the nineteenth century, women were predominantly depicted by males as either “the angel [or] the monsters” (Lipscomb 1). Dickinson, like many female writers sought to, “combat the patriarchal stereotypes and give an authentic picture of the female experience” (Lipscomb 1). Dickinson seeks this through her poetic works, “I’m “wife”-I’ve finished that” and “She rose to His Requirement” in which she portrays females under the scrutiny of their husbands as well as, as independents. She describes the independence and strength women lose once becoming “wives” and the freedom they would have if they were not required, by society, to conform to this role [as wives] solely. Her poem “The Bustle in a House” seems to focus on the mourning of a loved one; however, Dickinson ingeniously uses this theme to describe the social depravation women faced. This method also depicts women in a more natural setting rather than the unrealistic depictions demonstrated by male writers. Through her poetry, Dickinson instills power in women. Dickinson “searched for models among the famous women writers of her day” and “was scarcely influenced by literary men” (Bloom, Homans 17). She herself therefore, understood the difficulty of living in a male-dominat...


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...ickinson thought of herself not just as a poet but as a woman poet” and used her gift to create a more realistic picture of women, raise awareness concerning the injustices and feelings women felt, as well as to instill strength in future generations (Bloom, Homans 17).


Works Cited
Bloom, Harold, and Margaret Homans. "Emily Dickinson and Poetic Identity." Literary Reference Center. EBSCO, 21 Mar. 2005. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.
Feminism in Literature. 19th Century, Authors (c-z). vol. 3. A Gale Critical
Companion, Print.
Hanley, Lynne T. "Unofficial Voices." Literary Reference Center. EBSCO, 18 Apr. 2003. Web. 7 Apr. 2011.
Lipscomb, Elizabeth. "The Madwoman in the Attic." Literary Reference Center. EBSCO, June 1980. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.
Young, Robyn V., ed. Poetry Criticism. 1st ed. Detroit, MI: Gale Research,

1991. Print. Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism

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