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Essay/Term paper: Emily dickinson: her view of god

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Emily Dickinson

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Emily Dickinson: Her View of God

Emily Dickinson had a view of God and His power that was very strange
for a person of her time. Dickinson questioned God, His power, and the people
in the society around her. She did not believe in going to church because she
felt as though she couldn't find any answers there. She asked God questions
through writing poems, and believed that she had to wait until she died to find
out the answers. Dickinson was ahead of her time with beliefs like this. Many
people in her generation just believed in God, went to church, and looked highly
on the events discussed during church out of fear. These people were hesitant
to ask questions, afraid of God, and scared of Dickinson because she started to
inquire about things that only God was capable of answering.
In Dickinson's poem, "I Shall Know Why-When Time Is Over", she is
describing her feelings toward God. It appears as though she is angry with Him
because she cannot get any answers to her questions. Emily Dickinson feels,
that the answers to these questions will only come with death.

" I shall know why-when time is over-
And I have ceased to wonder why-
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky- (78)".

After she dies and God answers all of her questions, Dickinson then says:

" I shall forget the drop of anguish
That scalds me now-that scalds me now!"

This shows Dickinson's anger toward God. She does not want to have to die to
have her questions answered. She wants to be able to live without these
questions of what God wants, because they are deeply affecting her.
As time goes by, one could say that Dickinson is learning to live with
the questions she has for God. She does not look at death as a bad thing, she
starts to look at it in a positive way. She slowly starts to seclude herself
from others, which is apparent in her poems. Dickinson starts to discuss her
state of solitude and how it came about. This is described in, "The Soul
Selects Her Own Society". Dickinson says that:

" The souls selects her own society-
then shuts the door-
To her divine majority-
Present no more-(80)."

At this point in her life, Dickinson no longer wants to be a serious part of any
society. By secluding herself from people and writing poetry and letters only
to those close to her, she could question anything without being noted as a
skeptic by people within the society. Due to her beliefs, many thought that
Dickinson contributed to blasphemy, simply because she questioned God and
authority. However, in all actuality, Emily Dickinson was a loving and loyal
woman with a lot of unanswered questions. It was as though God has complete
power over Dickinson, and this was her way to praise God-by total seclusion.
Instead of going to church, she stays at home and worshiped God, whenever she
In "Much Madness", Dickinson describes societies attitudes toward her:

" Much madness is divinest sense-
To a discerning eye-
Much sense-the starkest madness-
`Tis the majority-(84)".

In Dickinson's so called "Madness" there is a Godlike presence that only she
recognizes. While everybody else thinks she is insane, she knows that she is
not, and God knows this as well.

" In this, as all, prevail-
Assent-and you are sane-
Demor-you're straightaway dangerous-
And handled with a chain-(85)".

She is describing what kind of people there are in society: those who conform
to what they are supposed to do and believe, yet in all essence, they really do
not understand what they are doing or believing, and those people who rebel from
what is normal and explore their surroundings, asking things that others dare to
ask. If they rebel, people will think their insane, and that will put a label
on them, causing people to become frightened when near them.
As society makes Dickinson feel out of place she starts to realize the
importance of God and who He really is. This is important because God and death
are now becoming a more critical part of her life. Dickinson starts to dwell on
death and when it will come to her. She describes how she thinks death will
come to her and how God will greet her in the poem, "Because I Could Not Stop
for Death". She imagines death coming in a carriage and taking her off to a
happy place of "immortality".

" Because I could not stop for death-
He kindly stopped for me-
The carriage held but just ourselves-
And Immortality."

This shows that Dickinson has realized the importance of God in her life,
whereas in previous poems she did not. Dickinson then goes on to describe the
passing of the carriage over fields and the sun, on her way to an everlasting
happiness in heaven.
In conclusion, Emily Dickinson had a view of God that revolved around
questioning His power. However, as she grew she started to realize how much
power God actually has over a person and their life. Dickinson lived to serve
and please God. She did this by simply believing in Him and in what He could do.
She did not need to go to church, become a nun, or profess her faith externally
to be a true believer. Emily Dickinson showed her love and faith in God through
her strenuous thought and questioning, and with her belief that God is always
there when you


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