Emily Dickinson -- Poems

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2002

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At first glance, Emily Dickinson's poetry looks short and concise. Many of her poems contain just a few stanzas, and not many words per line. This might give one the impression that the poetry is not very complex. However, upon further inspection, a reader can see that Dickinson is not a simple writer. Although her poems are short, each word is carefully chosen and most have multiple meanings.

An example of Dickinson's short poetry is Number 185. Only four lines long, it contains a powerful statement about Dickinson's beliefs and feelings about religion and science. She says that "Faith" is an invention made up by man so that they can see or explain the world around them, but advances in science have allowed people to see things that normally cannot be seen and are therefore more valuable or prudent. She makes a strong commentary in only sixteen words.

In her poem numbered 288, Dickinson makes a statement about the status systems in place in society. She seems to be saying that she is "Nobody" and has found someone who is similar to her. There is a fear of being banished or pushed away if they are found out. Then she goes on to compare being "Somebody" to being a frog in a bog: a frog that does nothing but tell his name to the world around him in a narcissistic way. In this poem, Dickinson is again making a broad statement about society in just two short stanzas.

In these two examples, Dickinson shows that a poet can be powerful and passionate about their subject without having to waste time, paper, and use extra words. She chose the words that were included in her poems very carefully and if you examine them closely, you can see that...