Love And Emily Dickinson Essay

3512 words - 14 pages

Love and Emily Dickinson

I am going out on the doorstep, to get you some new—green grass—I shall pick it down in the corner, where you and I used to sit, and have long fancies. And perhaps the dear little grasses were growing all the while—and perhaps they heard what we said, but they can't tell!

– Emily Dickinson to Susan Gilbert Dickinson (L 85, 1852)

Seventy-five years after the 1890s publication of the premier volumes of Emily Dickinson's poetry, critics still squabble about the poet's possibly lesbian relationship with her sister-in-law, Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson. Indeed, the specifics of Dickinson's relationship to Susan are ambiguous at best. All of the critical attention that her mysterious sexuality receives reflects our culture's urge to sectionalize great literary icons into our own personal niches, thereby absorbing them as our “group's” own voice. The poet, not the poetry, assumes the center of the discussion. The critics, whether arguing for or against a lesbian interpretation of the famed couple, are like two disgruntled neighbors arguing over a tree known for its particularly incendiary wood. They no longer focus on this evergreen's innate beauty but, rather, on whose property it resides and who has the right to cut it down to ignite their cause. In all actuality, we will never know the truth about the pair's physical relationship; the evidence is too ethereal to assume a definable substance. And, in part, this predictable public response motivated Susan Gilbert's reluctance to release Dickinson's poems and letters after the poet's death.

Emily Dickinson's life has been thoroughly explored by scholars and critics. Her extensive correspondence with all of her family and friends has left fruitful ground for biographers to frolic. During the span of her life, she wrote over 2000 poems that have been discovered and hundreds of letters. She sent more poems and letters to Susan Gilbert than any other correspondent, over twice as many than were addressed to her next most frequent recipient, Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Smith, “Belle,” 25). The two shared a correspondence that spanned thirty-six years, beginning six years before Gilbert's marriage to the poet's brother, Austin, and continuing until Dickinson's death in 1886. What makes this correspondence so remarkable is the close proximity of their residences. Dickinson was Susan's next door neighbor for thirty years and still she felt the need to write volumes of letters to her. This, as well as offering plenty of innuendo to the sexuality gossips, stresses the importance of the written word shared between the two.

Some scholars claim it is impossible for the actual nature of their relationship to be discovered due to the supposed differences in our cultures' views on female interaction. Expressions that are today seen as characteristically romantic and erotic are not believed to have been subject to the same socio-sexual judgments in...

Find Another Essay On Love and Emily Dickinson

Mortailty and Eternity in Emily Dickinson Poems

1676 words - 7 pages spending a brief moment at Amherst Academy, she returned home where she stayed until her death. It is suggested that she lived her life as a recluse but that theory is debatable. Dickinson had many love interest including Benjamin Newton, Samuel Bowles, Reverend Charles Wadsworth, and it is suggested that she had a love interest in Susan Gilbert Dickinson. Even though she had many men in her life, Emily and her sister Lavinia never married

Comparing Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson

1088 words - 4 pages Comparing Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson as Poets Often, the poets Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson try to convey the themes of the meaning of nature, or that of death and loneliness.  Although they were born more than fifty years apart their poetry is similar in many ways.  Both poets talk about the power of nature, death and loneliness.  However, Dickinson and Frost are not similar in all poetic aspects.  In fact, they differ greatly in

Essay on Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

992 words - 4 pages Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson   In America’s history, there have been so many writers, but only few are known for changing the course of American literature.  Two writers that fit this description are Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.  These two poets have different styles of writing but possess the same themes from the social environment that they are surrounded in.  The poetry reflects these poets’ personality and

Emily Dickinson and Interpretations of Her Poetry

1533 words - 6 pages Emily Dickinson and Interpretations of Her Poetry During Emily Dickinson’s fifty-six years she was able to produce many complex poems that contained deeply hidden meanings. When I consider the life she lived, this is not surprising to me. She was not only talented, but she also was born into a family and time that would provide much of her inspiration. Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born into the Dickinson family on December 10, 1830 in

Comparing Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

1009 words - 4 pages Comparing Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson The lives of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson have many similarities and differences. Here, we will focus on the similarities in their lives in order to bring to attention a correlation between Whitman's poem I Saw in Louisiana a Live-oak Growing and Dickinson's poem # 1510. Both poets wrote during the time of Romanticism, even though Whitman was Dickinson's senior by some eleven years. This

Essay on the Poetry and Life of Emily Dickinson

1466 words - 6 pages relationship to deepen into a mutual love. Instead of marrying Lord, Emily persevered in "her poetry and her isolation". In a letter to Lord, Dickinson wrote "·I confess that I love him ö I rejoice that I live him ö I thank the Maker of Heaven and Earth ö that gave him me to love ö the exultation floods me·." Lord and Dickinson never married, but she did wear a ring he gave her for the rest of her life. In 1884 Lord died, two weeks later, Dickinson suffered

Emily Dickinson, and Death as a Theme in her Poetry

807 words - 3 pages Although she lived a seemingly secluded life, Emily Dickinson's many encounters with death influenced many of her poems and letters. Perhaps one of the most ground breaking and inventive poets in American history, Dickinson has become as well known for her bizarre and eccentric life as for her incredible poems and letters. Numbering over 1,700, her poems highlight the many moments in a 19th century New Englander woman's life, including the

Biography of Emily Dickinson and Evaluation of Style

762 words - 3 pages Some people might crisis her writing, but those people just don't understand it. Some people might say she lived a secluded life, but do they know that she was in close contact with her family and couple of her close friends. Yet there are some people like me, who praise and admire constantly at the brilliance and innovative person we know as Emily Dickinson.Born in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts, Dickinson was raised by a family that was famous

Emily Dickinson: Poetry of Pain and Beauty in Heartbreak

2870 words - 11 pages examining poems by Emily Dickinson, you see how the pain in her life and the heartbreak she felt and witnessed contributed to many of the over two thousand poems she wrote during her 56 years of life. Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830. She had two siblings: an older brother, Austin and a younger sister, Lavinia. Even though Emily Dickinson's literary popularity continues to grow, the majority of her life is still a mystery. We do

"Dickinson and God - Who was Emily Dickinson's God?"

3023 words - 12 pages Dickinson and GodGod, to Emily Dickinson, is seen in more than a church or a cathedral. God is seen in her poems in relationship to such themes as nature and the individual existence. These thematic ties are seen in such poems as "It might be lonelier," and "Some keep the Sabbath going to church.""Some keep the Sabbath going to Church" consists of the differences that exist between Dickinson's way of being close to God and many other people's

Religious Influences on Emily Dickinson: Puritanism and Transcendentalism in Her Poetry.

1424 words - 6 pages Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830. Her father, Edward Dickinson, was a prominent lawyer in Amherst and a well respected trustee of Amherst College (Blankenship 576). Emily Dickinson was educated at Amherst Academy and, for only a single year, at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College) under Mary Lyon (Hart 224). Emily Dickinson was considered to be a high-spirited and energetic young woman

Similar Essays

The Poem Love By Emily Dickinson

1852 words - 7 pages In her famous poem Love, Emily Dickinson writes, “She rose to his requirement, dropped the playthings of her life to take the honorable work of woman and of wife.” The heroine of the novel Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, chooses to stand up against society’s standards of a woman’s responsibilities and pursue happiness. The novel describes the hardships and romances of the five Bennet daughters: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia

This Is A 3 Page Essay On Emily Dickinson. It Was Written For Literature Of The U.S. Ii. In This Piece I Illustrate That Dickinson Wrote Of Love, Life, And Death.

819 words - 3 pages Immortal EmilyEmily Dickinson is an everlasting female American poet. In the eyes of Thomas Higginson, Dickinson's poetry is written in an "unorthodox" style. Emily writes of Life, Love, and Death, but writes in such a way that it creates a vivid image. She is considered by some to have " an outwardly most uneventful life." (224). Although she was isolated, she was not blind to human nature. She was able to see the world around her for face

Death And Emily Dickinson Essay

1739 words - 7 pages . One primary element of death is the experience of dying. Many of of us are scared of the thought of death. When we stop and think about what death will be like, we wonder what it will feel like, will it be painful, will it be scary? In Emily Dickinson's poem Because I Could Not Stop for Death, she focuses on what the journey into her afterlife will be like. Dickinson uses the first person narrative to tell her encounter with death. The form

Emily Dickinson And Walt Whitman Essay

1212 words - 5 pages the barrier for one of the greatest poets.In 1830, Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, MA. She lived the above average life of a girl, her father being a congressman. She learned to cook and sew, and of course how to raise a family, all skills which were neccesary during these times. Emily Dickinson attended a boarding school where she recieved a good education. She was considered a "mourner among children", and a lover. She fell in love with