emily dickinson and her poems emily dickinson (1830-1886)

of 24 /24
Emily Dickinson and her Poems Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Upload: ruth-austin

Post on 16-Dec-2015

255 views

Category:

Documents


5 download

TRANSCRIPT

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Emily Dickinson(1830-1886)

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Emily Dickinson’s life (1830-1886)

• Homestead, Amherst, Massachusetts• Close friends: Austin (brother), Lavinia (sister), Susan• Education: Amherst Academy 1840-1846 Mt. Holyoke

Female Seminary 1847-1848• Brief visits to Washington & Philadelphia in Feb-Mar,

1855• Eye treatments at Cambridge in Apr.-Nov. 1864, Apr-

Oct, 1865• Masters / Preceptors / Lovers?• Desire to become a published poet?• Seclusion late in life (recluse)

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Religion

• Calvinistic influence: Amherst College vs. Harvard & Yale

• Terrorized by threatening sermons about damnation

• Terror diminished (esp. after 1852)• Triumph over religious fears• Doubt & faith: doubts about fulfillment

beyond the grave; belief in immortality

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Death Experience

• High infant and childhood mortality, high mortality in childbirth

• High mortality in general: death of neighbors and friends, other deaths

• Death of her 8-year-old nephew Gilbert

• Deaths of aunt, uncle, father, mother

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Topics for Discussion

• Dickinson’s unique style and language• relationship between nature and humans• concept of love• concept of death• exploration of the mind / psyche• view of women’s life / position in society

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Features of Dickinson’s Poetry

• Form

• Subject

• Image

• Rhetorical device

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Meters and Stanzas

• familiar meters, stanzas

- hymn stanza: quatrain of alternating lines of tetrameter and trimeter with lines 2 and 4 rhymed (214)

• irregular meters and stanzas (67, 249)

• occasional “slant” rhymes: today victory (67); true throe; feign strung (241); one stone (303)

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

• Frequent use of

- capitalization

- dash

- exclamation point

- enjambment (跳行,跨行) “It lay unmentioned – as the Sea

Develop Pearl, and the Weed,” (732)

- inverted order

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

• Few

- periods

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Subject

• life, death, love, nature, time, eternity

• inner/psychic world

- soul: 303, 396, 512, 974, 997

- suffering: pain, agony, anguish, grief, sorrow, despair, fear (49, 67, 241, 252, 280, 341, 465)

- joy, ecstasy, transport, passion, desire of freedom (214, 249, 640, 754)

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Image

• Original: 241

• Peculiar: 49

• Striking: 214, 341

• cognitively difficult:

585, 986

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Rhetorical device

• Metaphor: ever present in D’s poems

• Irony: 712, 732, 1624 (blonde assassin)

• Contrast: 67, 252, 579

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Nature poems

• 214

• 258

• 328

• 986

• 1624

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Nature Theme

• Identification with Nature: its spiritual refreshment, liveliness, beauty to be appreciated (214)

• Alienation from Nature: its essence is baffling, elusive and destructive (258, 328, 986, 1624)

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Death Poems

• 547

• 465, 640, 712

• 280, 341

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Death Theme

• Death as a possible extinction 547

• Question of whether the soul survives death, whether there is immortality, Heaven 465, 640, 712

• Spiritual death 280, 341

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

I heard a Fly buzz(465)

• Contrast of Stillness & fly’s Buzz

Tension: pauses within a storm

• King – death

• Willed my keepsakes – ready for death

• Blue & Buzz: color & sound

• Uncertain: fly’s motion, her state of mind

• Fly – the moment of death & the precious world she is leaving

• Windows failed –unwilling to admit her eyes’ failure

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Because I could not stop for Death(712)

• Kindly, civility – irony

• Chill – death’s freezing effect

• Flat roof – swift dissolution

• 3 interpretations – paradise, destruction, open ending

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

There’s a certain Slant of light(258)

• Paradoxes: cathedral, Heavenly hurt, Seal Despair

• Both elevating and destructive qualities of nature

• Experience beyond normal experience

- extreme despair

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Love Theme

• 249, 273 & 754

- Expression of passionate love: love is everything

• 640

- pain as caused by love

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

I cannot live with you(640)

• Paradox: a beloved man from whom she is permanently separated in life; the love she is devoted to separates her from the man she loves

• Lover is like God, superior to heaven

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Adrienne Rich

• Persona of masculine power 754, 315

• Exploration deep in the soul: ecstasy, passion, despair, pain

258, 280, 315, 341

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

View of woman’s life / position in society

• 401: satire of gentlewomen’s vanity and pretension

• 640: dedicated more to love than to husband’s religious belief

• 732: woman’s sacrifice in marriage of their “abundance / awe / pearl”

• 1176

Emily Dickinson and her Poems

Assignments for “Self-Reliance”

• Read R.W. Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”• Reread and identify

- 2 passages that amaze, inspire, excite

- 2 passages that confuse, puzzle, provoke• Bio of R.W. Emerson

- 2 details that are most revealing of his work