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Essay/Term paper: Emily dickinson

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Cliff Notes

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Emily Dickinson was born on December 10,

1830 in Amherst Massachusetts. She had a

younger sister named Lavina and an older

brother named Austin. Her mother Emily

Norcross Dickinson, was largely dependent

on her family and was seen by Emily as a

poor mother. Her father was lawyer,

Congressman, and the Treasurer for Amherst

College. Unlike her mother, Emily loved and

admired her father. Since the family was not

emotional, they lived a quiet secure life. They

rarely shared their problems with one another

so Emily had plenty of privacy for writing.

During her childhood, Emily and her family

attended The First Congregational Church on

a regular basis. Emily did not like going to

church because she didn't think of herself as

being very religious. She refused to believe

that Heaven was a better place than Earth

and eventually rebelled from the church.

Emily saw herself as a woman who had her

own way of thinking, a way of thinking

shaped neither by the church or society.

By the time she was twelve, her family moved

to a house on Pleasant Street where they

lived from 1840 to 1855. Emily was already

writing letters, but composed most of her

poetry in this home. Emily only left home to

attend Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for

two semesters.

Though her stay there was brief, she

impressed her teachers with her courage and

directness. They felt her writing was


At the age of twenty-one, Emily and her family

moved to the Dickinson Homestead on Main

Street. This move proved to be very difficult

for Emily. This was difficult for Emily because

she became very attached to her old house,

which shaped her writing and personality for

fifteen years. They now lived next door to her

brother Austin and his wife Susan and their

daughter Martha. Emily and Susan became

so close that many people believe they may

have been lovers. A rumor perpetuated by the

fact that Emily was known to have written

many love letters and poems to Susan.

Martha attempted to protect both of their

images and suppress the rumors. It became

common knowledge that Emily had some type

of very strong feelings for Susan.

At the age of thirty-one Emily sent some of

her poems to a publisher, Thomas Higginson,

from whom she got a very good response and

a strong friendship developed. He acted as

her mentor but she never seemed to have

taken any of his advice. It became evident

that she didn't like the idea of having her

works published, she made 40 packets of

about twenty poems apiece from 814 poems.

She placed these in a box along with 333

other poems.

Emily died on May 5, 1886 at the age of 56.

She had planned her own funeral. It was held

at the mansion on Main Street and ended at

the family plot near the house on Pleasant

Street. At her request, her casket was

covered with violets and pine boughs, while

she herself was dressed in a new white gown

and had a strand of violets placed about her

neck. Before she died, Emily left specific

instructions for her sister and a housemaid,

Maggie to destroy all the letters she had

received and saved. The box of packets and

poems was found with these letters, but Emily

had not said anything about destroying them.

Her sister Lavina was determined to have

these published, but Susan kept them for two

years before they were released to


In 1890 and 1891, some of the poems were

published. They received a great response,

but no more were released until 1955, when

the rest of her poems were published.

Though she was not religious many of her

poems do reflect Protestant and Calvinistic

views. She wrote many of her poems on pain,

but unlike most Protestants she refused to

believe that she deserved this pain. Though

she is viewed by many as a hermit who spent

much of her life in isolation, she also is

admired for her style in writing. She chose

her words for her poems in a way that allows

the reader to choose the meaning. In

conclusion, she wrote nearly eighteen

hundred poems, most ignoring rhyme and

punctuation. Emily"s poems did not have titles

because she never wanted them to be

published. Many of her poems are dark and

mysterious but all are true works of art.


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