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Emily Dickinson - the Greatest American Poet Through Her Metaphysical Understanding of Poetic Readings

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Emily Dickinson is a compassionate poet who is concerned with themes such as death, immortality, religion and the metaphysical. How does she uses these themes alongside language and structure to enter the readers imagination and fore-fill the category of one of 'America's greatest poets'

A Brief insight into how Dickinson works and her relationship with Walt Whitman

Dickinson's use of condensed imagery and language allows her communication to expand upon the portrayal of many of her poems. The imagery empowers readers to understand and reflect upon the poem, leading to them searching for deeper understandings as well as alternate meanings. For example in one of Dickinson's poems "Boots of lead" is used giving us the connotations of drowning, an heavy weight holding you down, misery or no escape. The image becomes a parallel linking with depression. It is slightly like a metaphor appearing as something it is not. From being just a simple sentence within Dickinson's work we see it turn into a human emotion. The variety of images we see within her short poems alone allow depth and different perspectives from all readers. If for example she was writing a poem about death, one of her main themes we can see that the pain experienced by the characters within the poem, is let out into the reader. This means the reading can relate closely to her work as well as feel the physical pains also.

We see that Dickinson uses a lot of personification through her emotions, as well as events in life, nature and other things which happen around her, especially in her own life. We see she personifies death in a lot of her poems, as well as immortality. In the poem 'Because I could not stop for death'1 death gains its own human qualities as if she has given death his own personality. She builds a strong relationship with death, similar to one amongst friends which the reader can relate to. She build a relationship with something so sinister humans are afraid of, as if it is just normal everyday behaviour. It also allows the readers to simulate emotions which you do not relate to death.

Dickinson's structure alongside her punctuation and grammar is a rarity within the famous American poet's of her time, but sincerely clever. The way in which she structures her stanzas alone allows links between the readers emotions as well as her own, shown throughout her poems. Due to Dickinson's range of short and lengthy poems the stanzas remain short. Dickinson's use of separation in stanzas adds to the journey the poem is following and allows readers time to compose their emotions from the previous stanza to the next. As we learn from reading Dickinson's work emotions alter swiftly in all her poems.

Due to her own specific techniques we see Dickinson's can effectively show her emotions and is great at stimulating the reader's emotions at the same time. Due to the imagery and language she uses, as well as the personification, structure and her own individual punctuation. It gives us effective and intense effect upon the reader. The use of dashes, alongside the personification and condensed imagery it invites the reader to stop, look and listen within sense of what they have just actually read, or follow on from what has just happened similar to a novel, it gives the reader chance to reflect on what they've just read, and feel their emotional ties to what Dickinson has written. All of Dickinson's work allows her readers to access a level of thought as well compared to other poets. No matter what Dickinson writes it can be seen as being ambiguous or holding ambiguity. This allows readers to interpret their own outlook on what they have read, as well as relate to what Dickinson is expressing within their own ways. Her technique allows the reader to be stimulated by emotion effectively as well as efficiently.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was a dear friend of Emily Dickinson's as she wrote to him before her poems were ever published. We now look back between both authors and see how the imagery of death and the theme of immortality stuck both poets in different ways. It shows the similarities between bother poets also. Whitman spoke of death from a perspective of those who were left behind i.e. the family left behind after losing their father. In Whitman's poem 'When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd'2 he said 'But I saw they were not as was thought; They themselves were fully at rest-they suffer'd not; The living remain'd and suffer'd-the mother suffer'd, And the wife and the child, and the musing comrade suffer'd, And the armies that remain'd suffer'd' 3As he continuously focused on the remaining who were alive, he quite clearly stated the ones who had died were no longer suffering. Where as Dickinson's views of death held similarities to Whitman's especially in her poem 'There's Been a Death, in The Opposite House,'4 Dickinson spoke more of who were left rather than the dead. She writes 'The Neighbors rustle in and out-/The Doctor-drives away'5 as well as 'The Minister-goes stiffly in-/As if the House were His.'6 She shows no remorse to the dead just the on goings around the death. It is as if the alive are acting unknowingly to the death as well as she. We know the death does no affect her specifically but it does affect her neighbours as well as what she witnesses through her own bedroom window. He also showed views on immortality, but these view rose from the physical elements in 'Song of Myself.'7 Whitman states 'For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.... My Tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil this air, / Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,'8 Showed his views of an ongoing atom leading to immortality. Dickinson's view on immortality shows the idea that her poems and possibly her letters would have future generations thinking of her. It happened long after her death she became famous and her work was noted and embraced.

We as readers can see the similarities between both Whitman and Dickinson, even though they are completely different poets. 'The love they hold towards nature, even though this was seen through different eyes.'9 Dickinson saw herself as observing nature and the natural happenings where as Whitman saw himself as being part of nature. The outlook they had on death was spoken about as an impact left to those who remained alive whereas the ones who died were not of importance. Immortality was achieved by both poets in different ways, Whitman saw immortality as 'scattering his atoms'10 after death, where as on the



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