Emily Dickinson

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Emily Dickinson

Post  Andy.S on Fri May 15, 2009 1:22 am

Was Emily Dickinson a Transcendentalist or anti-Transcendentalist? Well, for one thing she wrote about nature and had incorporated transcendentalism ideas into her writing. In I never saw a Moor, she describes her connection toward the natural world and God, implying that she was in touch with the Universal Being. Besides, how else would she be able to obtain so much wisdom and imagination in a confined room? In I could not stop for Death, her attitude towards death was indifferent and calm. She keeps mentioning the word “ground”, as if saying our deaths return us to the ground below and rejoin the natural cycle.

Yet, what I don’t see is optimism in the end of her writing. In “Hope” is the thing with feathers, Dickinson starts off with Hope being a warm bird that seems to appear everywhere except in herself. She lacks hope and believes that faith is utterly useless as hinted through Faith. In Sabbath Going to Church, feelings toward independency appeared regularly, explaining her reason to live isolated from the world. In Exultation is Going, she mentions the soul going to eternity and breaks off with the word “Divine intoxication” (negative connotation). From these poems I see a pattern, a constant positive to negative slope in almost every one of her poems. Maybe that’s her style, but it is the style that represents attitude toward life.

More importantly, during her years of writing did it ever occur who she was writing to? To the public? Not likely since it was her friends that assembled her work toward the public. Who she was writing to was Nature, the Universe and mostly to herself. She uses writing as a tool to express her feelings toward the world, almost as in a lecturing way. Her tone and ideas bounces around, but successfully give off her emotions. Perhaps that is the reason why her works were appealing, because she expresses a mixture of both positive and negative aspects into her writing.

So in conclusion, Emily Dickinson has both Transcendentalism and Anti-Transcendentalism views mixed together to the point I would say she is not a Transcendentalist nor an anti-Transcendentalist at all. I mean, she gets to be at the back of the whole Unit, dosen't that already mean something already? Smile
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Re: Emily Dickinson

Post  anita on Fri May 15, 2009 2:13 am

I liked what you said about the repetition of the word ground. Another perspective! Ground below, as in soil and nature, right? I only saw it as a way to remind us how death is the final destination in the earth, like all the way down. Also, what about the part when you mentioned hope being everywhere except in herself? Did you get that feeling from the last two lines of the Hope poem? I interpreted that as it not being demanding and accepting ... hmm. Positive to negative slope! tongue Reminds me of the graphs in math, which helps me to visualize what you're saying. What would you say is the factor that causes the turning point of her slope? Would you say that she manages a good balance between the positive and the negative aspects in her poems?
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Re: Emily Dickinson

Post  Andy.S on Fri May 15, 2009 11:24 pm

What would you say is the factor that causes the turning point of her slope? Would you say that she manages a good balance between the positive and the negative aspects in her poems?

Of course, but what I'm wondering about is her intentions for this pattern. Is this more of her style in poetry? Or is she really expressing anti-transcendentalism ideas because the negative part is usually in the back? (For an example, she makes everything seem nice but then smashes it down with negative aspects or reality)
I am not sure myself, because my interpretation may be off. Since you have interpreted Hope differently, do you also see this pattern or is it just me?
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