Emily Dickinson: Transcendentalist or Anti-Transcendentalist?

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Emily Dickinson: Transcendentalist or Anti-Transcendentalist?

Post  Michael Chen on Thu May 14, 2009 11:59 pm

On the face of it, I may seem obvious that Emily Dickinson is a Transcendentalist having her poems often relate or suggest inner connectivity with the whole. In "I never saw a moor" Emily Dickinson speaks of belief of intangible or simply things we do not see or have not seen which suggest the connection people share with beauties in life. The thought or the belief therefore transcends physical experiences and the limits to which are eyes are held back. Also, In "Exultation is the Going", the act of transcending into deep eternity suggest the uplift from the physical realm. Although it can also be said as simply religious, the trust of its existence can be said to be based upon something that isn't proven or measured but only known through good faith and possibly intuition from a higher being. Then again, in "I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed", Dickinson's appreciation for nature and concentratoin on its optimism, beauty, and timelessness can be said as similar to those of Thoreau and Emerson.
The thing is, Emily Dickinson isn't a Transcendentalist chiefly because she is multisided in her writing and sees all aspects of experiences, knowledge, and ideas contemporary to herself. Therefore, many of her poems also indicate and more anti-transcendentalist view, for instance, in "'Faith' is a good invention", Dickinson writes to illustrate the expedience and convenience of science. It then seems like dickinson believes that faith can only bring a man so far only to be stopped by physical boundaries. Also, in " I took my poewr in my hand", Dickinson writes of one who failed to defeat a substantially larger opponent, the world in fact, and this seems to contradict human unlimited potential.
Fact is, her writings exhibit both transcendentalism and anti-transcendentalism only because she follows the individuality of a transcendentalist. Dickinson was unique in her thoughts and saw and lived in her own outlook which is further evident in the fact that she closed herself off from the society only to resist conformity of the masses and mantain her essence pure and her soul and spirit free of pretense, guidlines, and other prerequisites to be apart of the contemporary and "normal" society. The truth to her is not to be analyzed and reasoned but to be experienced and lived and therefore, classifying her style to either side is much like classifying tomatoes as vegetables or fruits which is much less significant of course, but just as impossible.

Michael Chen

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Re: Emily Dickinson: Transcendentalist or Anti-Transcendentalist?

Post  Kenny on Fri May 15, 2009 12:27 am

So she really is more like half-half huh?
thanks, really cleared things up for me.
Oh and, tomatoes.
They're fruits, you're in bio for god's sake -_-

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Re: Emily Dickinson: Transcendentalist or Anti-Transcendentalist?

Post  Joshua on Fri May 15, 2009 1:37 am

THis is rather true, and i totally agree with what you have said in the post.
Emily Dickenson does seem like both intertwined together Razz

THanks for orgainising my thoughts about Dickenson and now she seems much more tangible!
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Re: Emily Dickinson: Transcendentalist or Anti-Transcendentalist?

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