Emily Dickinson’s work much like many artists prior foreshadowed and reflected the struggles and accomplishments of their life. Writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson take the liberty of using common themes throughout their poems. The same can be said about the likes of Emily Dickinson who fluctuates between death and grief. Death is inevitable and she used many of her works to showcase this. There are events such as those that occurred to both her mother and father.
First, her father had died from a stroke early on in her life; secondly, her mother had died eight years later. This not only dealt a great deal of trauma to Dickinson but would influence almost all of her works. Honesty and Grief were two themes that would be sprawled in her poems.
One of her works that highlight her conflict with death is “My life closed twice before its close.” The closing of her life twice was not due to illness or natural causes, but rather the deaths that had occurred early on in her life.
To lose someone in your life in Emily Dickinson’s own words, “ So Huge, so hopeless to conceive, As these that twice befell.” (5-6) It is as if one loses a part of themselves to this part of their life. This is a perfect way to make a connection with the reader since death and grief is an occurrence that we will all have to face in our lives eventually. Much like writers of her time she explored the way humans think and act.
Human nature is what drove her to write about it.
In her words, she uses a substantial amount of figurative language to emphasize her points. In “I Could Not stop for death” Emily Dickinson uses Repetition to show the long and slow journey with death. She did not only focus on death and grief but also on religion and the role it had in its society. During the 17th century, most if not all nation’s societies’ costumes revolved around the concept of religion. For Dickinson to profoundly make statements about religion shows that she was ahead in her ideas. “The Brain is just the weight of god, for lift them pound from the pound, and they will differ.” (9-11) To say that one’s brain is more powerful than religion was a sense of rebellion against her society. Her perseverance to write down what she felt and her gender and she is what truly sets her apart from many authors of this time
An idea that had appeared in another one of her writings shows her perspective on male and female roles in her society. She goes on to write how beauty is a trait that many women wish to have. On the other side of the spectrum, we have men, who tend to make white lies to show their masculinity. What she is trying to convey here is that society is like the stock exchange. Society is telling you to follow a certain way of life when in reality one must do whatever makes them happy. This is what Thoreau and many writers believed in. One of the many nonviolent ways of spreading your inner thoughts. How we perceive her writing is up to the readers and that is what truly makes literature during this period show its true colors. The best way in which one can describe it is that Emily Dickinson a writer of Transcendentalism was not afraid to put pen to paper with her beliefs.
The letters and writings have insights into her life, in “The Letters of Emily Dickinson” truly shows the way her prior years of life had affected her. Such examples can be found on pages “I sleep a night because it is cool and quiet and I can forget the toil and care of the feverish day, I am feeling lonely, some of my friends are gone aperishingnd some of my friends are sleeping-sleeping the churchyard.” It seemed that her surroundings were caving in within her own life. Her friends and everyone that was affiliated with her seemed to be parishing. Emily did not have an apparent vice, one would assume that anyone would escape such as alcoholism. We see that in one of her writings she mentions alcohol. “I taste a Liquor never brewed From Tankards scooped in Pearls.”
She did not turn to alcoholism, but rather expressed herself in her writing many writers in her period. When one is depressed things in life such as marriage or wealth mean nothing. The loss of her closest friends and Although the same cannot be said about Edgar Allan Poe As we know both her parents would end up perishing Transcendentalism is a common theme which is seen throughout many of her poems and letters. Writers of Transcendentalism tend to commit themselves to a life of seclusion from their practicers. To fully understand the meaning behind it. Emily Dickinson is no different from the passing of her closest friends and family. Her writings are a way to see what has made her the way she is.
Emily Dickinson’s interest in Death can be rooted in her past life experiences, From the loss of her parents and closest friends. The fact that she also passed away due to liver failure indicates that she was in a great deal of pain mentally and physically. One artist in particular that comes to mind is Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter whose life was altered by a chain of events that influenced her work. Figurative language is also used in her poems along with vocabulary terms that make the reader think of its significance and connection to her life. Death and grief are common in human nature, but Emily Dickinson excels in helping the reader compare and contrast the mystery.