Emily Dickinson: A True Transcendentalist

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Well-renowned American poet, Emily Dickinson, was a very impactful writer of the 19th century. Shortly before her time, transcendentalists emphasized natural intelligence and divinity. Advocates of this movement used their writing to educate the people regarding the universe and the truths of nature. Dickinson’s writing referred to some of these ideals, but was not written with the intention of teaching these ideals. While she possesses some of Emerson and Thoreau’s transcendentalist principles, Emily Dickinson did not use her writing to implement ideas, but instead used it to highlight the simultaneous existence of multiple levels of reality. So, she cannot be considered a true member of the transcendentalist movement, because in actuality …show more content…

One might argue her writing also touched upon many of the ideals associated with transcendentalism, including the investigation of human life and immortality. Clearly, Dickinson incorporated transcendentalistic views of self-examination and nature in her poems, “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” and “I Never Saw a Moor”, but this does not conclude that she was a true transcendentalist member. In comparison to Thoreau and Emerson she was not strongly promoting transcendentalism. Transcendentalism was a movement to overcome issues such as materialism and political corruption, as in Thoreau’s essay “Where I Lived and What I Lived For” where he explains that “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us”, but Dickinson was not advocating to uphold these ideals. She acknowledged the ideas within her writing by using the poems to evaluate her own intuition, not to advise her readers. This intuitive approach is very prominent in her poem “I Felt a Funeral In My Brain”, as she describes how her “mind was going numb”. She does not preach this as true transcendentalist member, Emerson, did, when he stated that “By simple living, by illimitable souls, you inspire, you correct, you instruct, you raise, you embellish all,” in his essay “Education”. Instead of teaching the ideals of transcendentalism as Emerson did, Emily Dickinson wrote to make the abstract concrete, and alluded more closely to realist

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