Emily Dickinson Essay

1250 words - 5 pages

"You only enshroud yourself in the fiery mist and I cannot reach you, but only rejoice on the rare sparkles of light," said Thomas Higginson; noting how difficult it was to capture one of America's best poets, Emily Dickinson. Dickinson proved to be an elusive subject time and time again through her unique writing style (Blooms 1). But why did she write the way she did? Throughout her life, Dickinson encountered many things that affected her poetry, whether they were her family, famous poets, or traumatic events.
At 5:00 AM on December 10, 1830, Emily Dickinson was born at the Homestead, a brick mansion built by her grandfather (Blooms 1). She was born and raised in Amherst, Massachusetts, ...view middle of the document...

No one knows what the traumatic experience Dickinson went through was, but it was likely that she lost a loved one or had a realization that she was past thirty and would likely never get married (Huffstutler 2). Richard Sewall, who was Dickinson's principle biographer, considered Samuel Bowles and Judge Otis lord to be her authentic lovers. The death of one of these men is written about in one of her poems and could likely be linked to the unknown trauma Dickinson faced (Blooms 2). She began wearing only white clothing and writing to a literary critic, Thomas Wentworth Higginson. In April 1862, she wrote to him, "I had a terror - since September - I could tell to none - and so I sing, as the Boy does by the Burying Ground - because I am afraid." Dickinson lived a confined, eccentric live of writing her poetry from then until her death in 1886 (Huffstutler 2).
Originality, especially that of Plato, Freud, and Shakespeare, fills up big spaces of the mind and language and also pushes contingencies, on those in the future. Through familiarity, these contingencies work to conceal true difficulty. The partly masked strangeness of Dickinson and her works still makes people today wonder at her as they do at Freud and Shakespeare. She does not have one single precursor to lessen her craziness in people’s eyes like Freud and Shakespeare had. Dickinson proved to be a difficult poet. Her best critics underestimate the subtlety and complexity of her original works. Dickinson still thought nothing less than everything of herself. Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, and Emerson are the only poets who compare to making all things new as Dickinson did (Blooms 1). Dickinson's poetry related mostly to that of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was neither transcendental optimist nor fatalistic pessimist and ultimately took his stand on experience. This fostered pragmatism, which generally stressed practical consequences as constituting the essential criterion in determining meaning, truth, or value. Before that American philosophy was formed, Dickinson was also a pragmatist. She taught that the only differences that matter are those that make a difference more compellingly than any other poet. Dickinson not only differed from Emersonianism, but also from Calvinist Christianity. Like Emerson, Dickinson's spiritual attachments were to "this loved philosophy," or poetry itself (Blooms 1).
Emerson exalted the self, which is a part or particle of God. Dickinson also saw no use for a God outside of the self (Blooms 1). Dickinson wrote to Higginson, "My business is Circumference." She wrote to another, "The Bible dealt with the Centre, not the Circumference. She was aware that these were Emerson's terms. Emerson...

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