Emily Dickinson

Essay by JdudersUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, August 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

Jenny Maguire

English - The Americas

Poetry Essay


Emily Dickinson

Renowned as one of the most significant poets in American literature, Emily Dickinson adds a completely distinctive dimension to Modernist poetry. Her lyrical appeal can be attributed to her aphoristic and abrupt style. Each and every phrase of her poems constitutes a direct representation of her unique personality or mood. This expression is developed through the short measure structure within all of her poems, in which the effect of this brevity is amplified by her verbal perniciousness. Almost all of her poetry consists of a deceivingly simple structure: four line stanzas; iambic meter, with every other line being tetrameter or trimeter; and ABCB rhyme scheme; a careful dispersion of dashes; and slant rhyme. Random puns, riddles, and imagery also garnish the infamously basic form of Dickinson's poems. Throughout her poetry, the reader may begin to notice several predominate themes.

Most noteworthy of these themes are death, life, timelessness, immortality, and art. More significantly emphasized than others, however, the overpowering theme of death pervades Dickinson's poetry. Never does she mention any sense of finality after death. In fact, many of her poems highlight the impression of infinite existence after death. Using imagery, form, narrative voice, and other poetic devices, Dickinson conveys death explicitly, and hints at its essential immortality.

Through many of Emily Dickinson's short poems, imagery of important symbols or ideas illustrate the immortality of death. In several particular poems, Imagery vastly enhances the representation of death. For example, in poem # 177 (page 107), the death of the speaker is accompanied by the word "Tomb." This already creates serious dark images of a graveyard, especially as the next dead corpse is laid in. The last stanza of this poem is saturated with imagery. The...