If I should Die: Death Poem Analysis

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Emily Elizabeth Dickinson is known for being one of the greatest American poets. She is described as a death-obsessed writer whose poems embodied the truth and hidden humor about death. She proved that death is a mystery and it must be unveiled. Through her poem “If I Should Die”, Emily Dickinson confronts death peacefully. Her approach to death in this poem reflects her spirituality and defines her title as a metaphysical poet.
Readers often conquer that her poems are an autobiography. She dealt with several losses from close family members and friends so she knew death well. Death was a constant battle in Emily Dickinson’s mind. It was a force to be reckoned with. Dickinson has written approximately fifteen hundred poems, of those surviving poems, one sixth of them spoke upon death. She even wrote numerous letters addressed to her family and friends during a time she was grieving from losses herself. Her father died when she was forty-three. She wrote to her mentor begging him to assure her that the “arm of the Lord is [not] shortened, [so] that it cannot save. Eight years later, her mother passed away. Her approach towards death was calmer this time: “She slipped away from our fingers like a flake gathered by the wind, and is now part of the drift called “the infinite.’ ” Ruth Flanders McNaughton states that “Emily Dickinson did not fear death, because she could not believe in eternal damnation; rather, she looked forward to it as an adventure, the passing through a door, the answer to a riddle, the end to her own private Calvary, and perhaps- just perhaps- reunion with all her friends and relatives…” Surprisingly, Dickinson never seemed to associate death with hell, though it seemed she had every right to approach it negativel...

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... is peaceful however. In “If I Should Die”, Emily Dickinson continued to reveal her spirituality and proved her label as a metaphysical poet.

Works Cited

Eberwein, Jane Donahue. An Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia. United States (1998). Web. 24 Mar. 2014.
Emsley, Sarah. “Is Emily Dickinson a Metaphysical Poet?” Canadian Review of American Studies 33.3 (2003): 249-265. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
Ford, Thomas W. “Emily Dickinson and Death.” Midwest Quarterly 4 (1962): 33-44. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
Humiliata, Mary. “Emily Dickinson-Mystic Poet?” College English (1950): 144-149. JSTOR. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
McNaughton, Ruth Flanders. Prairie Schooner (1949): 203-214. JSTOR. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
Schelurich, Neil. “Suffering and Spirituality in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson.” Pastoral Psychology 56.2 (2007): 189-197. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
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