Emily Dickinson

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Emily Dickinson

Post  Steph C on Fri May 15, 2009 12:09 am

I don't think Emily Dickinson can be classified stricly as transcendentalist or not. Thomas Higginson wrote that he was "never with anyone who drained my nerve power so much. Without touching her, she drew from me. I am glad not to live near her." and she is known to have lived an "intense inner life." Such complexity cannot be so eeasily declared black or white.

Dickinson appears to have some transcendental traits in that she seems to be seeking univesral truths, God and faith. For example in "I Never Saw a Moor," we see her confirming the existence of nature and God. In this journey for truth, she appears to stay devoted to her individuality, meaning she did not conform to any one outlook. In her individualism and conplex inner life, Dickinson likely possessed the transcending drive of Emerson and Thoreau. However, I think a key difference between Dickinson and Emerson/Thoreau is taht Dickinson spent much of her life indoors shut in a room. How is it then she is able to connect with nature as the transcendentalists so valued? Or maybe she's actually a polar transcendentalist with a little social phobia. Clearly her mind/imagination was able to take her very far, what would have happened if she had gone out more AND let her imagination transcend what it would? Maybe the world would have seen the greatest transcendentalist ever known.

Yet, because she lived the life that she lived, one must wonder how it is possibile to transcend anything before transcending your very own house. I think some of her poems are rather bold (Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church), yet others seep with condemnation or powerlessness *(This Is My Letter to the World). If she was lonely, she managed to successfully stick to her values amidst a world full of followers or conformists. (Or maybe that is why she isolated herself?) Still, she was extremely relectant for her work to be published; poems even had to be published directly against her will.
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Re: Emily Dickinson

Post  JTizzel on Fri May 15, 2009 12:24 am

she is known to have lived an "intense inner life." Such complexity cannot be so eeasily declared black or white.

This is a really good distinction here. I mean, when it comes down to life, when it comes down to the non local domain, when it comes down to the universal origin, it doesnt matter if one is male or female, Black or white, tall or short, big or small. Does it really matter if someone is a transcedentalist or not? Or can someone be both? or neither? (If thats possible) You know what i mean? Its only a label on a person catagorizing characteristics, personalities into distinct groups where the left brain in us can analyze which makes it eaiser to understand for the mind. The differences in people are merely the differences in distance from one towards their being on the local consciousness realm. IN the non local, everyone is equally unique. Great distinction.

How is it then she is able to connect with nature as the transcendentalists so valued?

I agree with you. she is a transcedentalist in a sense where she is very intimate with the universal origin which provides intuition which provides inspiration which provides though which generates motivation which results in action. Thus, it doesnt matter if she goes out of her house, in her house, in her kitchen, on her bed, eating dinner, eating brunch, checking her email, etc. She is in the non local realm.

Great job analyzing and questioning
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