Loneliness in Works of Emily Dickinson

1211 Words5 Pages
In the poems of Emily Dickinson, there are many instances in which she refers to her seclusion and loneliness, and how wonderful the two can be. In a book entitled, Emily Dickenson: Singular Poet, by Carl Dommermuth, she writes: "She (Dickinson) apparently enjoyed a normal social life as a school girl, but in later years would seldom leave her home. She was passionate yet distant." This distance Dommermuth speaks of is quite evident in Dickinson's works. Dickinson not only loves her loneliness but also feels as though she cannot live without it.

Emily Dickinson lived most of her time on this earth, from 1830-1886, in the small New England town of Amherst. New England was where the seeds of Puritanism took hold, and the Dickinson family was well-rooted there, and could trace their roots back to the "Great Migration" of Puritans to New England in 1630. The Dickinson's had experienced what became known as the "Great Awakening" of 1740. They were followers of the Puritan Minister Jonathan Edwards, who's "fire and Brimstone" preaching proclaimed all people as sinners at the mercy of an angry God. "The conjured images of souls burning in hell as punishment for sin was bound to have a profound impression on the timid Miss Dickinson." (Farstad)

Reading the poetry and letters Dickinson has written, it is easy to feel her seclusion and apprehensiveness to be alone. Dommermuth also says that Dickinson would probably have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder known as "agoraphobia" but at the time doctors labeled it as "female nerves." Even so, whatever went on in the mind of Emily Dickinson in turn created poems that are not only beautiful to read, but even more beautiful to understand. "Her seclusion contributed to h...

... middle of paper ...

...- My Blue Peninsula --

To perish -- of Delight --

The final stanza creates a vivid picture in your mind when read. If you can imagine anything that has to do with winning, or a victory of some kind, you can see what she is speaking about. For example, if someone was in a race, it would be better to see the winner cross the finish line, and know you almost made it; than to be so far behind that you had no chance of winning.

A peninsula is a piece of land projecting out into the water, so a `blue peninsula' would be the opposite. It would be an inlet of water that is connected to another body of water. Maybe she is looking at this body of water as an escape. Instead of swimming towards land and safety, Dickinson wants to swim away from everyone and out into the ocean. This poem deeply touches Dickinson's needs, want, acceptance, and love for loneliness.

More about Loneliness in Works of Emily Dickinson

Open Document