Presentation on theme: "Emily Dickinson. Early Life Father was a minister from Amherst, Mass – Patriarchal and scholarly – Emily and siblings expected to follow his rules Was."— Presentation transcript:
Early Life Father was a minister from Amherst, Mass – Patriarchal and scholarly – Emily and siblings expected to follow his rules Was social in her youth: "I am growing handsome very fast indeed! I expect I shall be the belle of Amherst when I reach my 17th year. I don't doubt that I will have crowds of admirers at that age” Attended Mount Holyoke for a year, but returned to Amherst Dickinson's letters to her brother also reveal a growing sense of "difference" between herself and others: “What makes a few of us so different from others? It’s a question I often ask myself” (L118). Never joined the church like her family did: "I am one of the lingering bad ones"
A Recluse? Lived at the Homestead, her family’s property Her brother (who had married her close friend Susan Gilbert) lived next door: it was a lively place for Amherst society – lots of gatherings!
A Recluse? "Master Letters:” drafts of letters that suggest a serious and troubled (though unidentified) romantic attachment that some scholars believe drove Dickinson's creative output. During this time Dickinson also referred to a trauma that she described in a letter: "I had a terror -- since September -- I could tell to none" (L261) Possible love interest: Ben Newton: older, guided reading, introduced to her to new ways of thinking/nature – Died of TB five years later, but seems to have played a role in Emily’s passion Another possible love interest: Rev. Charles Wadsworth: “tried to teach me immortality” – “greatest friend” of her life – loooooove?? Newton and Wadswoth: “My life closed twice before its close” and “Parting is all we know of heaven/And all we need of hell.”
Poetry Only 7 poems published in lifetime (she wrote over 2,000) because she decided against it – people kept trying to change her style! Her definition of poetry: "If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?” Style: simple, passionate, sharp, intense imagery, melody (some poems can be “sung” to hymns), ambiguous, witty, frank, innovative, personal – “ellipsis of thought” – Confined to the things she knew – but somehow relevant to all – Make the familiar seem strange/new**