Dickinson's Life and Poetry, Essay Example

Published: 2022-02-21
Dickinson's Life and Poetry, Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Walt Whitman Emily Dickinson
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 926 words
8 min read

Emily Dickinson was born in December 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. she left school as a young teenager and lived a reclusive life in their family homestead. Isolated from other people, she created several poems and wrote numerous number of letters which were only published after her death when her sister discovered them. However, only a few were published and made public (Griffith, 2015). Although unrecognized in her time as a result of her lifestyle, Emily Dickson is known posthumously for the innovative use of syntax and is now recognized as one of the important individuals of American literature.

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On education, she attended Amherst academy, currently known as Amherst college for seven years and later went to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for a year and left. The reason why she left school as early as that is not known but theorists suggest that it could have been her fragile emotional states. She did not join any denomination or church in her time, something that was against the norms of the day as at that time. Her writing passion was influenced by Leonard Humphrey, Amherst principal and a family friend by the name Franklin Newton. Dickinson's desire for poetry was also prejudiced by the philosophical writers of the seventeenth-century as well as her background in a Puritan New England town, which supported a Calvinist, orthodox, and conservative Christianity. While her elder sister was married, Emily and her younger sister served as caregivers to their ailing mother who passed away in 1882. After four years from the death of her mother, she also passed away. She died of kidney disease on May 15, 1886 at 55 years. She was buried in her family plot at west cemetery.

Emily 's stature as a prominent writer ascended from first publication of poems in their envisioned form. Dickinson is known for her compressed and poignant verse, which intensely influenced the point of poetry at that time. The forte of her literary style and her eccentric reclusive life, donates to the sagacity of Emily as an ineffaceable American personality who endures to be debated as late as today.

Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman

Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are among the most famous poets of the time period who audaciously revolutionized the style and subject of the American poetry. While both of them are well-known originators they are vastly unalike. Firstly, Walt Whiteman and Emily Dickson were both poets of the 19th century who wrote similar poems which were based on nature, immorality, and death. On the same note, they were poets for the romantic era. They noted the value of individualism in the society as well as how nature is a significant connection to God. Using death as a theme is one thing Dickinson and Whitman share (Gale, 2016). Whitman perception on death is very reflective of the belief of transcendentalism. In the "song of myself", Whitman demonstrates that there is life after death. In stanza six he writes "And what do you think has become of the women and children? / They are alive and well somewhere, / The smallest sprout shows there is really no death" on the other hand, Emily also writes about death in a more paradoxical and complex manner. She anthropomorphizes death, commonly seeing as a compelling lover. In her poem "Because I could not stop for Death" she says, "I heard a Fly buzz- when I died".

While they were poets who share the same time, they did not share a lot of things as far as personal life is as well as the poetry is concerned. Firstly, Whiteman used free verses to compose his essay while Dickinson would compose the poems using complex regular and slant rhymes. For example, in "Success is counted sweetest" the lines rhyme with each other for example "By those who ne'er succeed/ Requires sorest need". Another difference comes as a result of complexity and length (Juhasz & Miller, 2016). Particularly, Emily's writings were short and very simple as compared to her counterpart who had long and very complex poems. Walt used lengthy and wordy descriptions in his work while was straight to the point hence her poems are very easy to understand. These two poets also had a different lifestyle which must have contributed to their indifferent form of writing. Notably, Whiteman was sociable, very outgoing, gregarious and traveled to many places hence had a full grasp of nature and some of the things that required experience. On the other hand, Emily was content, shy, and to private.

Dickinson and Emerson

Dickinson and Emerson shared several themes. While Emerson believed in free thought, independence, nonconformity, Dickinson did too. That is the reason they are categorized under the same title same title: transcendentalists. In all their writing, themes of exploration, nature, segregation, and numerous semi-romantic philosophies. Emerson's work with the title "Nature" converses on self-discovery via the ordinary world and his essential isolation; Emily uses nature as a theme in nearly all the poems (for example: "A narrow Fellow in the Grass" and "As imperceptibly as grief" to induce her individual reflection and philosophical ideas. As such, the two were connected by alike principles.


Emerson, R. W. (2016). Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Library of Alexandria.

Erkkila, B. (2014). Walt Whitman among the French: poet and myth. Princeton University Press.

Gale, C. L. (2016). A Study Guide for Emily Dickinson's" Success is counted sweetest". Gale, Cengage Learning.

Griffith, C. (2015). Long Shadow: Emily Dickinson's Tragic Poetry. Princeton University Press.

Juhasz, S., & Miller, C. (2016). Poem 271 Dressing for Success: Emily Dickinson's Accomplished. In Emily Dickinson (pp. 37-42). Routledge.

Whitman, W. (2018). Poems. BoD-Books on Demand.

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