Mortailty and Eternity in Emily Dickinson Poems Essay

Mortailty and Eternity in Emily Dickinson Poems Essay

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Emily Dickinson is the epitome of the modern poet. Her poetry breaks from the traditional style with dashes to separate ideas. Dickinson, also, challenged the religious belief of her time. Growing up as a Puritan in Massachusetts, Emily Dickinson knew the bible, yet as an adult, she questioned that belief. Many of her poems seem focused on death; death of the body, death of the soul, death of the mind. Why was she so intrigued with death? The poems that embody this theme are: “Success is counted sweetest” (#112), “Safe in the Alabaster Chambers” (#124), “I like a look of Agony” (#339), “I felt a funeral in my brain” (#340), “Because I could not stop for death” (#479), and “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died” (#591). These poems seem to suggest that she struggled with the concept of mortality and eternity.
To understand Dickinson’s obsession about death one must consider her background. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, Emily was the youngest in a prominent family. Her father was a widely respected lawyer and later served as a state senator. Dickinson’s mother, on the other hand, was considered a religious woman who had a distant relationship with Emily. One source suggests that Emily’s mother suffered from depression. Considering that depression can be hereditary, this could explain Emily’s behavior as an adult. After spending a brief moment at Amherst Academy, she returned home where she stayed until her death. It is suggested that she lived her life as a recluse but that theory is debatable. Dickinson had many love interest including Benjamin Newton, Samuel Bowles, Reverend Charles Wadsworth, and it is suggested that she had a love interest in Susan Gilbert Dickinson. Even though she had many men in her life, Emily and ...


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...ity in nature, which is why many of her poems conflict with each concept.



Works Cited

Cullina, Alice. Chainani, Soman ed. *Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems Summary*. GradeSaver, 26 July 2009 Web. 26 March 2011.
"Emily Dickinson Biography." Famous Poets and Poems - Read and Enjoy Poetry. Web. 26 Mar. 2011. .
"Emily Dickinson." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. 7th ed. Vol. C. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. 74-88. Print.
Ferlazzo, Paul J. "Chapter 3: This Mortal Life." Emily Dickinson. Paul J. Ferlazzo. Boston: Twayne, 1976. Twayne's United States Authors Series 280. Literature Resource Center. Web. 27 Mar. 2011.
Melani. "Emily Dickinson: An Oerview." Emily Dickinson. 24 Feb. 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2011. .

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