Emily Dickenson Notoriously Reclusive, Even Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Purple is the color of dusk and twilight, a time in-between day and night, night and day. As such, purple symbolizes transition and transformation. Color is often a mystical symbol for Dickinson in her poetry. Silver and gold make frequent appearances; Dickinson writes about "An everywhere of silver," whereas gold is used in relation to sunlight in "Nature, the gentlest mother." In "Nature rarer uses yellow," Dickinson admires the sparing use of the hue in the natural world. For Dickinson, each color conveys a mood or meaning; its appearance in nature is never arbitrary. Her liberal use of color imagery suggests a deep contemplation of color as an interface between the mundane and mystical worlds.

Spiritual themes in the poetry of Emily Dickinson usually centers on religious awakenings, revivalism, and on personal relationships with God. In "Will there really be a morning?" The narrator is a "little pilgrim" crying out to "some wise man from the skies," (lines 11; 10). Angelic imagery and wings are also key motifs in Dickinson's religious poems. For example, in "Some keep the Sabbath going to church," the narrator wears her wings "instead of tolling the bell for church," (line 7). In fact, Dickinson's poetry reflects her solitary spirituality and personal mysticism. The poet unabashedly avows her choice to pursue religion on her own time and in her own terms in "Some keep the Sabbath going to church." The poem is overtly autobiographical, "Some keep the Sabbath going to church; / I keep it staying at home," (lines 1-2).

Dickinson's poetry reflects prevailing social and religious themes of the nineteenth century. The Great Awakening and religious revivalism that characterized Christianity in America during Dickinson's lifetime allowed, even encouraged personal approaches toward God. Mysticism was tolerated to the extent that Dickinson herself practiced it: by secluding herself in her home and contemplating spiritual themes in her poetry and prose. Transcendentalism in literature like Dickinson's poems revealed the independent spirit that defined American culture. At the same time, Christian symbols appear frequently in the poems of Emily Dickinson such as her references to resurrection in "Afraid?"

Death is also a common motif in Dickinson's religious poems, showing her fascination with the cycles of life. Dickinson deals with death frankly and without fear such as in "Afraid? Of whom am I afraid? / Not death; for who is he?" Dickinson's appreciation of natural cycles of life and death is evident in "Death is a dialogue between," in which the poet shows how death signifies spiritual transformation. Death, for Dickinson, is not an ending but a marker of time. Death is a "dialogue between / the spirit and the dust," a profound mystical moment. The moment of death reveals the tension between the impulse of life and the negation of life. Death and especially the interface between life and death and life after death are central Christian themes, showing how Dickinson's poetry manages to incorporate both traditional and mystical elements into her poetry.

More often than not, nature and religious imagery converge in the poetry of Emily Dickinson. The poet uses natural imagery such as the symbol of the butterfly or of dawn to write about spiritual transformation: the change from one state to another or from ignorance to enlightenment. The poet's profoundly personal approach toward religion, her reclusive lifestyle, and her predilection for transcendent contemplation make Emily Dickinson's poetry emblematic of nineteenth century America.

Works Cited

All poems retrieved from Dickenson, Emily. "The Complete Poems." Online at Bartleby.com. Retrieved July 2, 2008 at http://www.bartleby.com/113/

Emily Dickinson." Biography from Poets.org. Retrieved July 2, 2008 at http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/155

Emily Dickinson." Retrieved July 2,…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

All poems retrieved from Dickenson, Emily. "The Complete Poems." Online at Bartleby.com. Retrieved July 2, 2008 at http://www.bartleby.com/113/

Emily Dickinson." Biography from Poets.org. Retrieved July 2, 2008 at http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/155

Emily Dickinson." Retrieved July 2, 2008 at http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/emilydickinson

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https://www.paperdue.com/essay/emily-dickenson-notoriously-reclusive-even-29084

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