Essay on Themes, Styles, And Techniques Of Emily Dickinson

Essay on Themes, Styles, And Techniques Of Emily Dickinson

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Brendan Schick
Mr. Ingrassia
English IV, Period 3
Due: November 3rd, 2015
The Themes, Styles, and Techniques of Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson, one of the greatest American poets of the nineteenth century used many different themes, styles, and techniques that make her poetry so widely popular. The enigma that is Emily Dickinson continues to befuddle experts and leaves readers with a sense of deep, intimate connection through poetry. Even though she was a recluse, Emily Dickinson’s poems present universal themes that can communicate with the reader of the poems.
The theme of death is the most prevalent theme throughout all of Emily Dickinson’s poems. According to literary critic Anna Priddy, “Emily Dickinson is often characterized as a poet in love with death” (47). Her obsession with death may have been greatly influenced by the fact that she lost her mother, her nephew and three of her close friends while she was still very young (“Emily Dickinson and Death” 3). Her poems are written to make the reader ask certain questions about death, such as, “What is death’s nature?” “How are we to understand death?” and “What will death be like when it comes?” (Priddy 48). She viewed death with a certain fascination and sought to bridge together the crossing over from life to death in her poetry.
Loss is another common theme in the poetry of Emily Dickinson. According to Emily Dickinson, “Loss is a painful but expected part of living. Being alive necessitates it” (Priddy 47). Loss is not just about death, but also about personal battles, physical battles, and broken relationships, of which Dickinson had many.
Isolation, like loss, is another recurring theme in Emily Dickinson’s poetry. Like loss, isolation is often portrayed as posit...


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...images are used to explain each other (“Major Characteristics of Dickinson’s Poetry” 2).
One last technique that Dickinson uses is changing the speaker of the poem. In many of her poems, Dickinson herself is the speaker, but she sometimes would experiment and change the speaker of her poems to “little girls” even though the actual speaker (herself) is a grown woman. Sometimes Dickinson made the speaker of the poem a boy (Priddy 54).
“Shakespeare is always ahead of us, as Walt Whitman attempted to be. Emily Dickinson unnervingly is exactly where we are, in the unlived life or the life no longer fully lived” (Priddy VII). This quote from literary critic Anna Priddy best describes the relevance of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. The themes that Dickinson touched on, the styles in which she wrote, and the techniques applied to her poetry make Emily Dickinson’s poems timeless.

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