An Analytical Essay on Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson was a woman who lived in times that are more traditional; her life experiences influence and help us to understand the dramatic and poetic lines in her writing. Although Dickinson’s poetry can often be defined as sad and moody, we can find the use of humor and irony in many of her poems. By looking at the humor and sarcasm found in three of Dickinson’s poems, "Success Is Counted Sweetest", "I am Nobody", and "Some keep the Sabbath Going to Church", one can examine each poem show how Dickinson used humor and irony for the dual purposes of comic relief and to stress an idea or conclusion about her life and the environment in the each poem.
Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst Massachusetts; a small farming town that had a college and a hat factory. There, she was raised in a strict Calvinist household while receiving most of her education at a boarding school that followed the American Puritanical tradition. She seldom left her hometown; virtually, her only contact with her friends came to be made through letters. As a young woman, Dickinson rejected comforting traditions, resisted male authority, and wrestled alone with her complex and often contrary emotions. Although she was claimed to be a high-spirited and active young woman, Dickinson began to withdraw from society in the 1850's. The many losses she experienced throughout her life, the death of her father, mother, close neighbors, and friends influenced her life largely and led her to write about death to an enormous amount. Dickinson made a few attempts during her life to be taken as more than an amateur poet; on one occasion, she sent a collection of her poems to a correspondent who was a published poet. His criticism of her poetry devastated Dickinson, and she never made another attempt towards publishing her works. Evident through her letters and poems, her poetry records intense devotion, sharp, skeptical independence, doubt, and what repeatedly reflects her happiness and despair.
In the poem, "Success is Counted Sweetest"; Dickinson’s emphasis is less on humor and more on expressing irony. Here it is bitterness expressed towards the status or notion of success that is most felt by the reader as Dickinson reflects on the nature of success and how it can be best appreciated and understood by those who have not achieved it.
While the previous poem expresses the poet’s bitterness and sorrow with one aspect of her life, "I am Nobody" uses humor without irony to address another. In this poem, Dickinson's style appears almost child-like in its of...