Emily Dickinson

Emily was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. She rarely left her home and never really had many visitors. Those who were in her life had a big influence on her writings. Her father and brother both held highly esteemed political jobs while her sister lived mostly in isolation as Emily did. Emily had several relationships that very strongly influenced her writings. These relationships are known as to be romantic or not. Emily was not recognized for her work during her lifetime. Instead, once she died forty handbound versions of about 1,800 poems were found. Emily was raised on Puritan foundations but had not professed an absolute religion. Part of Emily's isolation came from her mother's lifestyle. Her mother and her did not have a thriving relationship. In fact Emily once wrote "Could you tell me what home is. I never had a mother. I suppose a mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled." To me, it could be inferred that Emily isolated herself as her mother was isolated from her children in their times of need. Emily never married and the explanation may just be in her poem "Part Three: Love XVII." Interesting enough this is not just the roman number for 16 it also means "I have lived" in Latin which could be implied that her life "is over."

Escape is such a thankful word

Escape is such a thankful Word (8)
I often in the Night (6)
Consider it unto myself (8)                      
No spectacle in sight (6)
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Escape — it is the Basket
In which the Heart is caught
When down some awful Battlement
The rest of Life is dropt —

'Tis not to sight the savior —
It is to be the saved —
And that is why I lay my Head

Upon this trusty word —

  • The theme of this poem is escape through words. Emily uses how it felt to have the word escape on her mind and how it was a positive thing for her.
  • She says "It is to be the saved." Using the word saves suggests a positive view of what escaping means to her.
  • It's ironic how "escaping" is so dear to her but she rarely left her house.
  • This is similar to "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" because the meter switched out between lines.
  • Aspects of romanticism can be seen in this poem by its two way dept. There is the literal meaning behind her words of getting away and escaping (physically) but the poem is to escape "mentally."

Are Friends Delight or Pain?

Are Friends Delight or Pain? (6)
Could Bounty but remain (6)
Riches were good — (4)
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But if they only stay (6)
Ampler to fly away (6)
Riches are sad. (4)

  • The theme of this poem is how friends make somebody feel. Emily shows how they are a "delight" when you have them but once they leave you they is nothing but "pain."
  • She says it very clearly: "But if they only stay." If they leave it's "sad."
  • Very relatable.
  • This is similar to "I heard a fly buzz - when i died" with its ending. This poem starts off with a question as to show how she feels. Many times when questions are asked in literature it is not because an answer is sought but really because the author wants the reader to ask the question and hopefully through the rest of the text understand and feel the same way. In "I heard a fly buzz - when i died" Emily again used a style to get the reader to understand her feeling or what she was trying to portray.
  • Aspects of realism can be seen here where Emily is using verisimilitude. She is giving the reality of how friends can be a treasure, but only if they stay.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

Clip From Part Three: Love XVII--
"SHE rose to his requirement, dropped
The playthings of her life
To take the honorable work
Of woman and of wife."