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Emily Dickinson and Interpretations of Her Poetry

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Emily Dickinson and Interpretations of Her Poetry

During Emily Dickinson’s fifty-six years she was able to produce many complex poems that contained deeply hidden meanings. When I consider the life she lived, this is not surprising to me. She was not only talented, but she also was born into a family and time that would provide much of her inspiration.

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born into the Dickinson family on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her parents, Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson, were strict and cold like the Puritan religion they upheld. Her father even went as far as to censor the books Emily read so she wouldn’t be lead astray from Puritanism. As a young girl she was expected to embrace the beliefs and values of her father and the church, but when she got older she would challenge their viewpoints.

Emily received schooling from Amherst Academy and from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. She only stayed at Mount Holyoke for a year, though, and then returned to her family’s home in Amherst. It was there that she would begin a lonely life of solitude.

During her time in Amherst she did happen to venture away from her home a few times. It was during these trips that she met the men that would become influential in her life. These men were Reverend Charles Wadsworth, Samuel Bowles, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Emily corresponded and shared poetry with these men, and it has been suggested that the love poems she wrote referred to one of them. It was through these love poems that Emily was able to express her emotional desires and her longing to touch and be close to someone. Openly expressing them was not an option because of the Puritan religion of her family and the time and culture in whi...

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...e that she is moving away from the happy pictures of children playing and of sunsets to something more sinister. Her own lightweight clothing is not enough to keep her warm.

The swelling of the ground in stanza five could be describing a grave, or Emily could have meant to be observing archaeological ruins from ancient times.

The poem ends with Emily saying that it had been a long time since she first set foot in the carriage that hauled her through her life of isolation, and that she had no doubt that she would remain isolated for the rest of her life.

Emily Dickinson was a very intelligent and complex person whose unhappiness with her life strengthened her writing. In my opinion, it also made her writing more difficult to understand, and I hope that I have managed to portray the thoughts and images that Emily truly had in mind as she composed her poems.