Rain Drops, Loss, and Relativity

Essay by megharrisCollege, UndergraduateB+, May 2014

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Megan S. Harris


English 523

12 March 2014

Rain Drops, Loss, and Wartime

Death, war, and the loss associated with these aspects of life are experienced by people today, as well as in the past. Many have found solace through the appreciation of nature and expressed this in poetry. This is especially true for Emily Dickinson, who wrote much of her poetry during Civil War times. She experienced casualties of people whom were close to her family due to the Civil War. In addition, she also found pleasure through the nature that surrounded her family's homestead where she spent a majority of her life. At first Dickinson's poem "A drop fell on the Apple Tree" may appear as a simple poem about nature. On the surface it seems to be a poem about the the journey of a raindrop on a rainy day in which the sun eventually shines through.

(Fr 846) However, there is much more to this particular poem than the experience of a rainy day. Through the use of natural imagery and metaphor, Dickinson successfully shows that all is interconnected, and that through war and the loss associated with it people can come together.

"A drop fell on the Apple Tree" was written in 1864 which would have been towards the end of the Civil War. A year prior to this Emily Dickinson's brother, Austin, experienced a death of a close family friend. In 1863, "After the body of Frazer Stearns- the son of the college's fourth president, William Augustus Stearns- came back to Amherst, so did a canon that he had helped reclaim from confederate forces" (Sweet). Emily attended Amherst college and was acquainted with Frazer as well. Although he was not a member of the family, the death became an important...