Helen Maria Fiske Hunt Jackson was born on October 14, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Later, she decided to go by Helen Hunt Jackson when married a second time. She was the daughter of Nathan Wiley Fiske and Deborah Vinal Fiske. “Her father was a Congregational clergyman and a professor of philosophy and language at Amherst College who brought his children up under strict Calvinistic authority and her mother Deborah was a quiet, demure woman” (Cormack). Both parents did not have much influence on her and neither did they show her much affection; when she needed friendship and companionship she would turn to her good friend Emily Dickinson (Cormack). Nathan Fiske and Deborah Fiske died of tuberculosis and left Jackson alone at the young age of fifteen. “Jackson had been a devoted daughter and had received all of her education from her mother up to that point” (Cormack). To continue her education she went to private schools where she received a good but patchy schooling (Wilkins). Still her childhood friend, Emily Dickinson, would insist that she should begin to write. At the age of eighteen she ended her education with no special promise of a literary career (Wilkins). After her first husband, Edward Bissel Hunt, and their nine-year-old son died, she fell gravely ill (Wilkins). “After her second son died of diphtheria, she plunged into such despair that her friends began to fear for her sanity but luckily she turned to writing as a form of solace” (Cormack). At about the age of twenty one she started writing poems and realized she was good at what she did, so she sought out to become a well-known writer and “eventually articles, poems, sketches, and novels became her life blood” (Cormack). If it were not for ...
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