Dickinson and Belonging

Essay by maddydirksHigh School, 11th gradeB+, October 2014

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"To what extent is a persons sense of belonging shaped by both their own decisions and the perceptions of others"

By instinctive nature, people have a deep desire to belong and to be connected with others whilst simultaneously not losing their own individual sense of self. Our sense of belonging is largely shaped by our personal, social and cultural ideals, as well as the judgments of others. Whhen these two clash, many experience a sense of exclusion. These ideas can be seen through a study of Emily Dickinson's Poems "This is My Letter To the World" and "I Died for Beauty" as well as Katharine Stocketts' novel The Help. These texts explore the importance of faith and death in belonging. Along with the pseudo sense of belonging developed through succumbing to the pressure of social perceptions is explored.

Emily Dickinson, throughout her life, made the decision to oppose the patriarchal values that constricted women in her 19th century society, thus living much of her life as a recluse.

Her sense of alienation is reflected in her self-expressive poetry. Within, "My Letter To The World", the extended metaphor of the one-sided 'letter' (represents a poem) highlights Dickinson's sense of exclusion. Dickinson's doubt that she will ever be accepted is highlighted when wider human society is personified as "the world that never wrote to me,". . The tonal shift from confidence in the opening of the poem to a more pleading voice in the final lines demonstrates her sense of vulnerability. Dickinsion seems to find solidarity in her relationship with nature . Dickinson personifies nature as a woman, asserting that nature provides a way in which all may find a sense of likeness and belonging. This can be seen in the phrases "her message is committed," and "the simple news...