Heres a short list of indicating frequency of Emily Dickinsons used favorite words in her 1775 poems: 170: sun 141: death, face 130: god, time 125: soul 124: heart 121: night 106: love 102: bird 94: die 88: eyes 86: bee, home 82: light 77: sky
Subject matters Death and Immortality Nature Love Religion Success and Failure Unity of Goodness, Truth and Beauty Other Subjects
Death and immortality are the center of Dickinsons poems (one third). She expects to understand the meaning of life by understanding the meaning of death. I Heard a Fly buzz when I died Because I could not stop for Death My life closed twice before its close
She was skeptical and ambivalent about the possibility of achieving immortality. I heard a Fly buzz– when I died The Stillness in the Room Was like the Stillness in the Air Between the Heaves of Storm The Eyes around– had wrung them dry And breaths were gathering firm For that last Onsetwhen the King Be witnessedin the Room I willed my KeepsakesSigned away What portion of me be Assignableand then it was There interposed a Fly With Blueuncertain stumbling Buzz Between the lightand me And then the Windows failedand then I could not see to see
My life closed twice before its close; It yet remains to see If immortality unveil A third event to me, So huge, so hopeless to conceive As these that twice fell. Parting is all we know of heaven, And all we need of hell. Dickinsons many friends died before her, and the fact that death seemed to occur often in the Amherst of the time added to her gloomy meditation. My life closed twice before its close portrays the poet as ever-ready for the assault of death.
Nature Natural phenomena, changes of seasons, heavenly bodies, animals, birds and insects, flowers of various kindsall these and many other subjects related to nature find their way into her poetry. The mixed feelings of joy and grief at the coming of spring and autumn, the sense of momentary transitoriness( ) and the power and majesty of summer storm. In the meantime the cold indifference of nature is also revealed in her poems.
Dickinson was original. The way she wrote about love is a good case in point. Mineby the Right of the White Election expresses a passionate and eternal love in an elegiac ( )tone. Wild NightsWild Nights, Love is expressed in an unabashed manner with evident erotic image. Charles Wadsworth
Dickinson holds that beauty, truth and goodness are ultimately one. John Keats beauty is truth, truth beauty-that is all Ye know on earth and all ye need to know. I died for Beautybut was scarce
Strong influence of Calvinism on her thought (pessimism and tragic tone of her poems); exploring humans inner world (psychology description in her poems); Her poems abounds in telling original images; Good at catching the charm of something but dropping the thing itself; Severe economy of expression; Brief, direct and plain language
We passed the School, where Children strove At Recessin the Ring We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain We passed the Setting Sun We passed the school where children played Their lessons scarcely done; We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun. Here are two versions of one stanza of one of her poems. The first is unedited; the second has been corrected.
Overuse of capitalization & dashes( );capitalizationdashes The use of deletions; Absence of connective words; Irregular rhymes; Wrenched grammar & syntax; e.g. "A Wonderfulto Feel the Sun." Characteristics of Poetic Forms
Rhetorical Devices Oxymoron Synesthesia ( Alliteration( ) vowel rhyme Metaphor Personification Death is a Dialogue between The Spirit and the Dust. Dissolve says DeathThe Spirit Sir I have another Trust
Capitalization of Her Poems German, a language Dickinson knew, typically capitalizes nouns. Capitalized words gives additional emphasis. Some critics (Habegger) believe that her use is at times idiosyncratic and more random than meaningful, since in some instances a word is capitalized in one of Dickinson's handwritten copies of a poem but not in another of her copies.
marks to guide readers on how the passage should be read or phrased; To makes readers ponder words and phrases; To cause reflection and intensity; To slow reader or call attention. The Use of Dashes
I Like to See It Lap the Miles I like to see it lap the Miles And lick the Valleys up And stop to feed itself at tanks And thenprodigious step Around a Pile of Mountains And supercilious peer In Shantiesby the sides of Roads And then a Quarry pare To fit its sides And crawl between Complainig all the while In horridhooting stanza Thenchase itself down Hill And neigh like Boanerges Thenprompter than a Star Stopdocile and omnipotent At its own stable door She tells about the railway is as impressive as her striking image of a galloping horse intended as a symbol both of the railroad and developing America.