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Emily Dickinson’s Poetry Analysis

Emily Dickinson was a famous American poet. She was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a brilliant family with respectable community ties. Despite that, she lived rather a solitary and isolated life. After graduating from the Amherst Academy, she entered a Mount Holyoke Female Seminary and returned home to Amherst. She was known for her propensity for white clothing and her unwillingness to communicate with guests. She liked to sit in her room surrounded by the creative atmosphere. Her outlook and way of living were brightly reflected in her poetry. Hence, Dickinson’s poems uncover pessimistic and eternal topics of death and immortality thus disclosing the inner world of poetess; her short works of literature were also the manifestation of feminism and recusal life.

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The poem I’m “wife” –I’ve finished that reveals contradictory feelings of a young girl that is about to become a woman and a “wife”, the status that is an “eclipse” (DiYanni, 653). In the verse, the author expresses her unconventional vision of marriage considering it as shelter from the problems where a woman could feel “safer and more comfortable”. On the other hand, she also inserts the feministic tones saying that it is better to be a “woman” rather than a “wife”. That is why marriage is only the feeling of obligation that sets all girls free from the painful status of independence. “Wife” is also a term that has no positive connotations since it is invented by society. The poem is autobiographical since it fully reflects Dickinson’s view on marriage and female-male relationships.

Like most of her poems, Dickinson’s After great pain, a formal feeling comes enlarges on the topic of death. The “pain” is the feeling that a person feels when losing his/her love because of death (DiYanni, 655). Throughout the verse, we could trace some hidden reasons for the poetess’s suffering. Dickinson capitalizes the words “Heart”, “Nerves”, “Air” thus emphasizing her grief of loss. The poem is a flashback to the authors’ hardships when she had to go through the pain of losing her friends. However, the essence of the poem describes not the way people overcome pain but the way people live further without showing their emotions and affecting other people’s lives. The line “The Feet, mechanical, go round” – renders Emily’s attitude to those who manage to forget the pain and to live further.

Though Dickinson proclaims that life is the embodiment of pain, the poem the Heart asks Pleasure – first discloses her burning desire to exclude the suffering from her life thus asking some “pleasure” as the first need of humans (DiYanni, 659). The poetess despises the humans that depend on pleasure thus showing their weakness and reluctance to endure pain. The last line of the first stanza shows that the author is keen on relieving from pain comparing it with “that deadens suffering”. In the poem, the author shows that only God is empowered with the possibility to lessen the pain so that Dickinson calls him “Inquisitor” which historically means the Catholic Church that punished heretics. The final line of the verse again resorts to the topic of death as the only means to eliminate the suffering.

In conclusion, most poems either directly or not are dedicated to the topic of death and eternal life. The poem under consideration exemplifies Dickinson’s vision of the sense of life that is full of pain and grief. Each line of her verse is saturated with pessimistic spirit thus closely intertwining into the poetess’s existence beyond the society. The great sincerity and brave expression of the important philosophical question made Emily Dickinson one of the most outstanding writers of the nineteenth century.


DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. US: McGraw-Hill Humanities, Social Agencies, Languages, 2001.

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