Emily Dickinson

Taylor Jubilee

Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. For her education, she went to Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth and studied at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts, for only a year. Throughout her life she had very little contact from the outside world. By 1860, she lived in almost complete isolation only being with her family including her brother, sister, and father. Although she only came in contact with very few people, the people she did come in contact with had a heavy impact on her poetry.
"Emily Dickinson." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.

Emily Dickinson's Common Themes and Subject Matters

Dickinson was known to write about what she knew and what intrigued her. She looked up to and was influenced by poets such as Robert and Elizabeth Barret Browning and John Keats. She used images from the topics of nature, religion, law, music, commerce, medicine, fashion, and domestic activities. These topics helped her form her common themes of the wonders of nature, the identity of self, death and mortality, and love. Her style and form were generally poems that spoke lyrics from a single speaker who expresses thought and feeling. Dickinson was very fond of the Reverend Charles Wadsworth of Philadelphia. In 1860, he left for the west coast and the departure of her dear friend lead her to a very heartsick flow of verse fort the next few years to follow.


"Major Characteristics of Dickinson's Poetry | Emily Dickinson Museum."Major Characteristics of Dickinson's Poetry | Emily Dickinson Museum. Trustees of Ahmerst College, 2009. Web. 05 Dec. 2014

Three Major Works from Dickinson

1. Hope is the Thing with Feathers- written in 1861 and published in 1891

-describes hope as a bird that perches in the soul. The poem is a simple metaphorical description of hope derived from Psalms and religious hymns. Dickinson introduces her metaphor in the first two lines then develops it throughout the poem by telling what the bird does, how it reacts to hardship, and where this bird can be found.

"Hope Is the Thing with Feathers" SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.


2. Success is Counted Sweetest- written in 1859 and anonymously published in 1864

-The most recognized line in this poem is "success is counted sweetest from those who ne'er succeed". The poems describes the complicated moral and psychological truths as well as Dickinson's keen awareness of the complicated truths of human desire. This is all described by the images of a victorious army and one dying warrior to suggest that only he who has suffered defeat can understand success.

"Dickinson's Poetry- Success Is Counted Sweetest." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.


3. The Soul Selects Her Own Society- written in 1862 and published in 1890

-describes the need to live by one's own choices. The "soul" is referring to a person, a feminine person which is why the poem uses "her". The tone of the poem is quiet yet grand and ominous. The general main idea of this poem is that people choose a few companions who matter to them and exclude everyone else from their inner consciousness.

"Dickinson's Poetry- The Soul Selects Her Own Society." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.