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“Because I Could Not Stop For Death” And “Annabel Lee”: Similarities, Differences, And Their Authors

2008 words - 8 pages

In literature, themes shape and characterize an author’s writing making each work unique as different points of view are expressed within a writing’s words and sentences. This is the case, for example, of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” and Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death.” Both poems focus on the same theme of death, but while Poe’s poem reflects that death is an atrocious event because of the suffering and struggle that it provokes, Dickinson’s poem reflects that death is humane and that it should not be feared as it is inevitable. The two poems have both similarities and differences, and the themes and characteristics of each poem can be explained by the author’s influences and lives.
“Although Emily Dickinson is known as one of America’s best and most beloved poets, her extraordinary talent was not recognized until after her death” (Kort 1). Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she spent most of her life with her younger sister, older brother, semi-invalid mother, and domineering father in the house that her prominent family owned. As a child, she was curious and was considered a bright student and a voracious reader. She graduated from Amherst Academy in 1847, and attended a female seminary for a year, which she quitted as she considered that “’I [she] am [was] standing alone in rebellion [against becoming an ‘established Christian’].’” (Kort 1) and was homesick. Afterwards, she excluded herself from having a social life, as she took most of the house’s domestic responsibilities, and began writing; she only left Massachusetts once. During the rest of her life, she wrote prolifically by retreating to her room as soon as she could. Her works were influenced by, to mention a few, her knowledge of the Bible, Shakespeare, and the classics. Although she possessed an exceptional talent, only a few of her poems were published; in fact, the original poems weren’t published as the publishers heavily edited the poems. After a life of seclusion, Dickinson died on May 15, 1886, in Amherst, at age 55. Surprisingly enough, only seven of her poems were published by then and not until 1955 were all the 1775 original poems published. Dickinson lived a life of seclusion in which she explored the different themes of life.
Being one of the most remarkable minds and having one of the most prolific writing careers in American literature, Dickinson has become a beacon for scholars all over the globe. She inspired herself by an extensive knowledge of the Bible, Shakespeare, and other authors and combined her “Puritan heritage and her Yankee background” (McChesney 1). But unlike most important authors, she progressively withdrew from outward involvement in the community and began to create her own unique style. Some of her uniqueness include “’the qualities of [her] New England speech, [her] Iaconic brevity, [her] directness, [as well as her] cadence,’” (McChesney 1) her “dramatic dialogue,”...

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