“Pain and loss lie at the heart of Dickinson’s poetry”. Cons

“Pain and loss lie at the heart of Dickinson’s poetry”. Cons

In reading Dickinson’s works for the first time it is possible to form, what I believe to be, the misconception that pain and loss are the main characteristics of her poetry. This could be due to the morbid and sombre tones which feature in many of her poems, or, alternatively, it could be owed to a fairly common theme in her works, death. However through studying both Dickinson’s poetry and background I would argue that overall she had a positive and happy outlook on life. Although it is true that she rarely left her father’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts, I believe it was her choice to live a life of solitude, preferring not to mix with society. Emily Dickinson believed that the task of finding out who you really were was impossible when influenced by the social order, a particularly infuriating principle being the conventional women of the time. This view is clearly confirmed in poem number 60 – “what soft cherubic creatures’, in which she criticizes middle class women for their seemingly worthless lives: “What soft cherubic creatures, these gentlewomen are” This line is both bitter and sarcastic; it was Emily’s belief that these women were unenlightened and ignorant of others. The poem is a mocking comparison of women to their ideal conformities in the world, criticizing conventional women as a whole, rather than referring to one in particular. “Brittle lady”?A horror so refined” She felt it was “horrific’ that these sophisticated women had no ideas or opinions of their own. She hated the idea that what the majority of people thought was considered right. It is this bitterness towards conventionality and tradition that causes me to believe that it was her preference to be different. It is even possible that she felt superior to these women, lucky to have her own opinion and an independence of mind. “One would soon assault a plush – or violate a star” The “plush’ (pin cushion…


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