Emily Dickinson Essay

1538 words - 6 pages

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson1830-1886"Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.""If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain." Emily Dickinson was a compassionate, intelligent, and intuitive woman, characteristics all shown through her poetry, letters and epigrams written in her lifetime. Emily, Belle of Amherst, whose life formed the transcendental bridge to modern American poetry, is admired greatly for her contributions to literature and for opening the door for women in poetry, who were previously expected to limit their subjects to the domestic and the sentimental. Her humble ambience of timidity secluded her from proper recognition for her talent until after her death, when people around the world caught wind of her legacy and aptitude, soon becoming enraptured in her ability to capture emotion, thought, and beauty through poetic language like none before her.Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. She was raised in a loving, closely knit family that lived in New England for eight generations and was acknowledged for their activity in political and educational communities. Little is known of her mother, Emily Norcross, and much of what is known is simply unjustified speculation. Her father, Edward Dickinson, was the treasurer and lawyer of Amherst College, and served actively in Congress. Their family was a socially admirable and highly esteemed part of society (Taggard 34-36). Emily was one of three children. She had an older brother, Austin Dickinson (who later married Susan Gilbert in 1856) and a sister three years younger than she, Lavinia (Taggard 348).Dickinson was first educated at Amherst Academy until 1847, when she began attendance at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, but a severe case of homesickness led to her premature return home in 1848. In the years preceding her return home from Holyoke, Emily was considered to be a high-spirited and energetic young woman, but for reasons unknown, she withdrew from society around 1850. After this sudden seclusion, virtually all of her contact with friends and family existed through her letters and poems (Literature Network).Those people she did contact with became extremely impactful on her life and poetry. She was deeply fond of the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, pastor of the Arch Street Presbyterian Church, whom she met on a trip to Philadelphia in March 1855, while en route to visit her father in Washington, D.C. He moved unannounced to the west coast shortly after a visit to her home in 1860, and his departure gave rise to a flood of verse that expressed heartsick loneliness from Dickinson, who deeply admired him. While their relationship remains obscure, biographers speculate that Dickinson fell in love with the married clergyman, and that her years of seclusion at her home in Amherst, Massachusetts, were rooted in this unrequited affection (Poetry Exhibits Online). He is believed to be the...

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