Emily Dickinson

By: Ashley Bartlett

Background Information

  • Born: December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts
  • Died: May 15, 1886 due to Brights Disease
  • Parents: Emily Norcross and Edward Dickinson
  • Siblings: Older brother, Austin and younger sister, Lavina
  • Grew up as a puritan
  • Spent most of her life secluded from the world (spent most of her time at home)
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Career as a Poet

  • Studied english at Amherst academy and Mount Holyoke College (1840–1847)
  • During the late 1850's she began to write most of her poems
  • Her poetry was influenced by friends and few men she met, in particular, Charles Wadsworth (a man she met in Philadelphia) and Benjamin Franklin Newton.
  • Spent time by herself in her house writing constantly
  • Only published 7 of 1800 of her poems during her lifetime
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Literary Works

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land

And on the strangest sea,

Yet never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.



Much Madness

Much madness is divinest sense

To a discerning eye;

Much sense the starkest madness.

’T is the majority

In this, as all, prevails.

Assent, and you are sane;

Demur,—you ’re straightway dangerous,

And handled with a chain.

Influence on Literature

  • As a Puritan, she questioned religious views such as sin and salvation
  • Her isolated life allowed her to write about her deepest feelings, and captured the emotion of many Americans during that time
  • Wrote about death, love and other deep topics other people were afraid to mention
  • Emilys independence played a huge role in her poems, she didn't want to be like every one else
Before I Got My Eye Put Out - The Poetry of Emily Dickinson: Crash Course English Lit #8

Work Cited

Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.


Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.