Emily Dickinson

By: Morgan Smith

Who is Emily Dickinson?

Emily Dickinson was born December 10, 1830, in Massachusetts. Her father,Edward Dickinson, was a lawyer who was very concerned with politics. He held office in both the State Legislature and the State Senate. Her mother, Emily Norcross, was eclipsed by Edward's ambition and political standing so little is known about her. However, it is presumed that she was very engrossed in the sciences.                                

As a child and young adult, Emily Dickinson studied at Amherst Academy. Here, she began to look at science in an nontraditional and less accepted way which led her to observing the beauty in nature. This led to her love of poetry. She also went to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary where she was shunned for her lack of religious belief.

After leaving Mount Holyoke, Dickinson rejected the idea of playing the proper part that she should in a household. She returned back home and, instead of becoming a caretaker, she became a councilor to her siblings. Refusing to conform to anything considered acceptable for the time period, Dickinson was constantly harassed and she began to fall faster into her world of poetry. Eventually, Dickinson secluded herself at home only corresponding via written letters.

"Hope" is the Thing with Feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet - never - in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of me.

Analyzing "Hope"

I chose this poem because I can relate to how important hope is and how it can be found in the strangest of places.

It is an iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter.

Theme: Hope is eternal

Dickinson starts by claiming hope never stops and is in the soul. She transitions into talking about how hard it is for hope to disappear. She ends with how hope doesn't disappear no matter what kind of situation it is.

This poem connects to the Gettysburg Address. In the Gettysburg Address, Lincon talks about how there is still hope for America because the American dream is still alive; the American dream should be what is strived towards. Lincoln still has hope even though a horrible thing is occurring which is the Civil War.

This poem reflects American Romanticism by focusing on emotions rather than logic or reason. No, people do not actually have something with feathers in them. However, they do have a fluttering hope that is perched in them. This poem is also connects to nature by comparing hope to a bird.

We grow accustomed to the Dark

We grow accustomed to the Dark -

When Light is put away -

As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp

To witness her Good bye -

A Moment - We uncertain step

For newness of the night -

Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -

And meet the Road - erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses -

Those Evenings of the Brain -

When not a Moon disclose a sign -

Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -

And sometimes hit a Tree

Directly in the Forehead -

But as they learn to see -

Either the Darkness alters -

Or something in the sight

Adjusts itself to Midnight -

And Life steps almost straight.

Analyzing "Dark"

I chose this poem because, in a way it connects to my last poem. My last poem was about hope during tribulations. This poem is also about bad circumstances.

It is an iambic tetrameter and an iambic trimeter.

Theme: One adjusts to bad times

Dickinson begins by talking about how we adjust to the dark (which could be metaphoric for difficult times or new circumstances). She also talks about how its not always an immediate transition. No matter how brave, one may still hit their head on a tree or stumble. However, this is not the end result. One can rise up again and continue walking as if nothing is wrong and the world is not dark.

This poem relates to The Minister's Black Veil. In both pieces of writing, darkness represents something outside of itself. However, the meaning differs. In the Black Veil, darkness represents hidden sin. In Dark, darkness represents either new or bad circumstances. One can connect, however, that both darkness are closely related in a different manner. Both can be considered bad but both can also be forgotten when one becomes accustomed to them.

This poem also reflects upon the era in which it was created. Dickinson uses tons of figurative language including metaphors and personification. This poem also focuses on feelings rather than logic and reason.

The End

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