Ideas of Gender and Domesticity in Leaves of Grass and Selected Emily Dickinson Poems

Ideas of Gender and Domesticity in Leaves of Grass and Selected Emily Dickinson Poems

Length: 1187 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


Ideas of Gender and Domesticity in Leaves of Grass and Selected Emily Dickinson Poems
Though both Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were highly self-reliant and individualistic, he found importance in the “frontiers” and believed the soul was only attainable through a physical connection with nature, whereas she chose to isolate and seclude herself from her community in order to focus solely on her writing. In this analysis, I will look at excerpts from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Emily Dickinson’s poems, “I’m ‘wife’— I’ve finished that”, “What mystery pervades a well!” and “I’ll tell you how the sun rose”, to contrast their representations of self-realization and domesticity and the implications of this domesticity on their gender.
The first topic I will discuss and compare is their different attitudes toward “domesticity”. This is, of course, the opposite of everything Walt Whitman believed in. As I aforementioned, he held to the belief that the only way to have a pure soul and true connections with the Earth was to venture out into it. Physical, rather than emotional, connections with nature were absolutely necessary to life and to full self-realization (Comment, 62). Section 33 of Leaves of Grass begins with his cataloging all the wonders of nature he has seen, “Where the panther walks to and fro… where the otter is feeding on fish… where the black bear is searching for roots or honey…
Over the growing sugar, over the yellow-flower'd cotton plant… Over the western persimmon, over the long-leav'd corn…” (L, 33), and is followed later on by “no guard can shut me off, no law prevent me”. Whitman is discussing how free and alive he is in the American frontier, and attests that that is the only true way to be free, to find ...


... middle of paper ...


... and an end to his capacity to write. Domesticity for her—the only circumstances in which she would be able to.



Works Cited


Comment, Kristin M. "'Wasn't She A Lesbian?' Teaching Homoerotic Themes In Dickinson And Whitman." English Journal 4 (2009): 61. General OneFile. Web. 9 May 2014.

Hughes, Gertrude Reif. "Subverting The Cult Of Domesticity: Emily Dickinson's Critique Of Women's Work." Legacy: A Journal Of American Women Writers 3.1 (1986): 17-28. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 9 May 2014.

Farland, Maria. "Decomposing City: Walt Whitman's New York And The Science Of Life And Death." Elh 4 (2007): 799. Project MUSE. Web. 9 May 2014.

Wrobel, Arthur. "Whitman And The Phrenologists: The Divine Body And The Sensuous Soul." PMLA: Publications Of The Modern Language Association Of America 89.1 (1974): 17-23. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 9 May 2014.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Emily Dickinson 's Poem Analysis Essay

- Published in 1863, “She Rose to His Requirement” by Emily Dickinson is the voice exclusively for women. The poem expresses the values and aspirations women have to give up to devote their lives to marriage. This is an unequal exchange for marriage when women have to sacrifice many precious things to fit into the role of a wife. Throughout the poem, the theme of feminism rises remarkably, and it leaves a hallmark for Dickinson’s philosophy of gender equality. Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1830....   [tags: Gender, Feminism, Gender role, Woman]

Strong Essays
1203 words (3.4 pages)

Emily Dickinson: Untitled, Unregulated, and Unchained Essay

- ... Most of Dickinson’s work relies heavily on the musical quality of her verse. One approach to organizing her poems was writing in the structure of the “fourteener”. This meter is the form of nursery rhymes, ballads, and church hymns. Ballads were originally used for storytelling, where the lyrics were set to music. When reading Dickinson’s poetry aloud, one can easily pick up on the rhythmic quality composing the images that tell the story. The provided example of Emily Dickinson’s poetry read aloud has no music, but the animation and gentle cadence of the speaker’s voice provide a melodic undertone for the story....   [tags: poet, life, nature, sexuality, identity]

Strong Essays
940 words (2.7 pages)

Life vs Death and Human vs Nature in Dickinson´s poems Essay

- Emily Dickinson was an American poet from Massachusetts, who lead a strange but mysterious life. She was a very reluctant woman she stayed in her room and rarely talked to anyone, she had an amazing talent she could write poetry. Emily Dickinson wrote over a thousand poems throughout her life that later after her death were published. Dickinson’s poems were brought to life due to her weird but wonderful use of various literary terms. Majority of Dickinson's poems reflect her lifelong fascination with illness, dying and death....   [tags: poetry, American poet, Emily Dickinson]

Strong Essays
871 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about Emily Dickinson's Death Poems

- Emily Dickinson's Death Poems Emily Dickinson's world was her father's home and garden in a small New England town. She lived most of her life within this private world. Her romantic visions and emotional intensity kept her from making all but a few friends. Because of this life of solitude, she was able to focus on her world more sharply than other authors of her time were. Her poems, carefully tied in packets, were discovered only after she had died. They reveal an unusual awareness of herself and her world, a shy but determined mind....   [tags: Emily Dickinson Poetry Death Dying Essays]

Strong Essays
3836 words (11 pages)

The Nature of Death in Emily Dickinson's Poems Essay

- Emily Dickinson once said, “Dying is a wild night and a new road.” Some people welcome death with open arms while others cower in fear when confronted in the arms of death. Through the use of ambiguity, metaphors, personification and paradoxes Emily Dickinson still gives readers a sense of vagueness on how she feels about dying. Emily Dickinson inventively expresses the nature of death in the poems, “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain (280)”, “I Heard a fly Buzz—When I Died—(465)“ and “Because I could not stop for Death—(712)”....   [tags: Poetry Analysis ]

Strong Essays
2260 words (6.5 pages)

Nature in the Works of Emily Dickinson Essay

- Nature is the most beautiful places for anyone to enjoy peace and stability in the human minds. Emily Dickinson is a naturalist poet that she wants the world to know that peace does exist in the human world and she wants to tell the world. Dickinson's poems are mostly written by "nature", "love", and "death" according to Anna Dunlap in her analysis. Dickinson's sister, Lavinia, is the one who published Dickinson's work, on her first attempt the editor that was responsible was taking her sweet time....   [tags: literary analysis, Emily Dickinson]

Strong Essays
1384 words (4 pages)

Comparing Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson Essays

- Comparing Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson as Poets Often, the poets Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson try to convey the themes of the meaning of nature, or that of death and loneliness.  Although they were born more than fifty years apart their poetry is similar in many ways.  Both poets talk about the power of nature, death and loneliness.  However, Dickinson and Frost are not similar in all poetic aspects.  In fact, they differ greatly in tone. Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost both talk about the power of nature in their poetry.  Dickinson uses this theme in her poem " `Nature' is what we see -."  The power of nature is strongly portrayed in this poem by Dickinson's articulation of what...   [tags: Comparison Poetry Poems Frost Dickinson]

Strong Essays
1062 words (3 pages)

The Democratic Value of Whitman's Leaves of Grass Essay

- Early reviews of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass evince an incipient awareness of the unifying and acutely democratic aspects of the poetry. An article in the November 13th, 1856, issue of the New York Daily Times describes the modest, self-published book of twelve seemingly formless poems: "As we read it again and again, and we will confess that we have returned to it often, a singular order seems to arise out of its chaotic verses" (2). The Daily Times's identification of "order" out of "chaos" in Leaves of Grass parallels America's theoretical declaration of e pluribus unum, one out of many—a uniquely democratic objective....   [tags: Whitman Leaves of Grass Essays]

Strong Essays
3350 words (9.6 pages)

Whitman's O Captain! My Captain! And Dickinson's Hope is a Thing with Feathers

- Whitman's "O Captain. My Captain!" And Dickinson's "Hope is a Thing with Feathers" America experienced profound changes during the mid 1800’s. New technologies and ideas helped the nation grow, while the Civil War ripped the nation apart. During this tumultuous period, two great American writers captured their ideas in poetry. Their poems give us insight into the time period, as well as universal insight about life. Although polar opposites in personality, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman created similar poetry....   [tags: Contrast Poems Whitman Dickinson Essays]

Strong Essays
846 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Poems

- Poems Change Certain things vary everyday, tides lap various portions of sandy gold and land is illuminated and darkened with clock like accuracy. Like cammilions, hills and land periodically display their transient colors with no regard to its inhabitants needs, preferences or even life. Everyday change, insignificant, expected and unshoking when it occurs, no emotional distress or even flickers of eye lids. Those firecrackers of life, however, sting with flaming relentless pain as if being attached by legions of jelly fish intent on wreaking havoc....   [tags: Poems]

Free Essays
456 words (1.3 pages)