Emily Dickinson's Poetry

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Introduction Emily Dickinson was born on 10 December 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. A close scrutiny of her life reveals that she spent her life in seclusion and never had many friends or associates. Yet, the few with whom she established good relationships had a lasting influence on her life as well as her work. The one who made such an influence in her life was the Reverend Charles Wadsworth whom she called “my closest earthly friend.” The three major influences on her poetry were the 17th century Metaphysical poets in England, the Bible and her upbringing in a Puritan family. She admired the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Barrette Browning and John Keats. It is amazing that not more than a dozen of her poems were published during…show more content…
Naming words such as love, sympathy, fame, success, immortality, eternity, life, and death are some of the examples. These ideas and concepts are not available to the senses. The opposite is the word ‘Concrete’. They are ideas or concepts which have a definite form. Examples are physical objects such as door, mat, stone, and umbrella. They can be perceived by the senses. The curious truth about abstract ideas or concepts is that we are all familiar with these and yet we cannot recognize or imagine them unless they are set against something which really exists, that is, unless we concretize them. Emily Dickinson uses this as a poetic technique to explain the intangible. The reader finds it difficult to understand these abstract ideas represented by the concrete images, as there appears some seeming obscurity and ambiguity in the poems. But a deeper analysis of the poem unfolds and unravels the levels of meaning in the poem and opens the doors of happiness and joy to the reader. Dickinson’s poems are known for this quality. professors Peggy McIntosh and Ellen Louise Hart comment: “For Emily Dickinson, the immeasurable, unrecorded life was far more real than the verifiable one; the intersections of visible and invisible worlds far more electric than facts recognized by biographers” (1) Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the only one literary critic during her life time calls her a “wholly new…show more content…
The speaker in the poem says that she died for Beauty and she was unable to ”adjust to her tomb.” There was another man who too died for Truth and was in the same predicament. When both of them started exchanging their ideas why they died, the man in another tomb said that Truth and Beauty are the same and that they met at night as kinsmen and they were ‘brethren’’ They talked with each other till such time the moss reached their lips and covered up the names on their tomb stones. This shows the transience of human life. The man’s exposition reminds us of John Keats’ ‘Truth for Beauty and Beauty for Truth’. However, Dickinson’s treatment of this bizarre idea of death is astounding and is unique in literature. What is singularly Dickinson’s and is unparalleled in this poem is the harmonious blending of different abstract ideas like the physical death of a person (“Until the Moss had reached our lips—” ) gradually leading to martyrdom (“I died for Beauty. . . One who died for Truth”) interspersed with Platonic love and kinship (“And so, as Kinsmen, met at Night—”), and an undying desire to live a life after death (it would be nice to have a like-minded friend). The profound truth in this poem is that all cravings, desires, anxieties, ambitions come to a naught when death attends on us and life is so
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