Emily Dickinson - Essay Example

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Emily Dickinson On December 10, 1830, Emily Dickinson was born to Edward Dickinson and Emily Norcross in Amherst, Massachusetts. She had an elder brother, William, and a younger sister, Lavinia. Emily’s father encouraged education in his children as they were growing up, prompting them to learn and remember all that they could so that they may share these new things with him when he returned home from his business trips…
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Emily Dickinson
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Download file to see previous pages She spent much of her childhood and on writing letters to her friends and numerous poems. When Emily was only fourteen, she witnessed the death of her second cousin and close friend, Sophia Holland, and became traumatized. Her parents sent her away to live with family in Boston, where she was able to get proper treatment and recover from the horrific event. After she returned home to Amherst, she also returned to school, where she made numerous friends and correspondences, and found solace in her church. When she completed her time at the Academy, she briefly attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, which was short lived due to a mixture of Emily’s failing health and her distaste for the evangelical fervor of the school. She returned home and became, more or less, domesticated, cleaning and cooking for her family. At eighteen, Emily was introduced to Benjamin Franklin Newton, who, according to letters written by Emily herself, was believed to play a large role in the majority of Emily’s writing as she grew older. He encouraged her writing, sharing with her his belief that she had what it took to be an accomplished, published poet. It was Newton that introduced her to other famous writers and poets, such as William Wordsworth, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Lydia Maria Child. Unfortunately, Newton died not too long after from tuberculosis, and Emily’s brother took on the role of ensuring that his sister got all the books she could possibly want, including many works by William Shakespeare. In 1850, Emily’s emotional and mental states took a turn for the worst. In a span of just a few years, Emily lost a handful of close friends to various illnesses. As a result of these deaths, Emily withdrew into herself, keeping out of sight and sound of society. Emily continued to write her poems, though they focused greatly on the subject of death, which came as no surprise. However, the first half of the 1860s, the years following these deaths, “proved to be Dickinson’s most productive writing period (Habegger 405).” In the later half of the 1860s, though, Emily became even more withdrawn, never leaving the house unless she absolutely needed to; even her poems became few and far between. In the mid-1870s, Emily lost both of her parents, as well as a few more close friends, plunging her into an even greater depression, where she remained until she died on May 15, 1886, from Bright’s disease. Emily was considered to be an intelligent poet due to the unique ways in which she wrote her poetry. They contained short lines, slant rhythm, unconventional capitalization and punctation, and they seldom had titles (McNeil 2). Emily often rejected pentameter, preferring to use trimeter, tetrameter, and dimeter, the use of all of these is considered to be irregular. She was also used dashes in the place of periods or commas, which would often increase the moods of her poems. The majority of her poems dealt with death and immortality; Emily viewed the latter as something attainable through her writing, which was also a thought she conceived during her brief friendship with Newton. Common themes include the use of flowers and gardens, morbidity, and gospel. Many of Emily’s poems were also peppered with psalms and riddles, as well as hymns and song-forms. When ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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