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Emily Dickinson's world was her father's home and garden in a small New England town. She lived most of her life within this private world. Her romantic visions and emotional intensity kept her from making all but a few friends. Because of this life of solitude, she was able to focus on her world more sharply than other authors of her time were. Her poems, carefully tied in packets, were discovered only after she had died. They reveal an unusual awareness of herself and her world, a shy but determined mind. Every poem was like a tiny micro-chasm that testified to Dickinson's life as a recluse.
Dickinson's lack of rhyme and regular meter and her use of ellipsis and compression were unimportant as long as her poetry was encouraged by it. Although some find her poetry to be incomprehensible, illiterate, and uneducated, most find that her irregular poetic form are her original attempts at liberating American poetry from a stale heritage. Her poetry was the precursor to the modern spirit with the influence of transcendentalism not puritanism. Her treatment of Death and profound metaphysical tendencies were part of the singular nature of her genius. Emily's simple language draws rich meanings from common words. The imagery and metaphors in her poetry are taken from her observations of nature and her imagination.
She approached her poetry inductively, combining words to arrive at a conclusion the pattern of words suggested, rather than starting with a specific theme or message. Her use of certain words resulted in one not being able to grasp her poetry with only one reading. She paid minute attention to things that nobody else noticed in the universe." She was obsessed with death and its consequences especially the idea of eternity. She once said, "Does not Eternity appear dreadful to you... I often get thinking of it and it seems so dark to me that I almost wish there was no Eternity. To think that we must forever live and never cease to be. It seems as if death which all so dread because it launches us upon an unknown world would be a relief to so endless a state of existence." Dickinson heavily believed that it was important to retain the power of consciousness after life. The question of mental cessation at death was an overtone of many of her poems. The imminent contingency of death, as the ultimate source of awe, wonder, and endless questions, was life's most fascinating feature to Dickinson. Dickinson challenges the mysteries of death with evasion, despair, curiosity or hope in her poetry as means to clarify her curiosity. From examining her poems of natural transitions of life and death, changing states of consciousness, as a speaker from beyond the grave, confronting death in a journey or dream and on the dividing line of life and death one can see that Dickinson points to death as the final inevitable change.
The intensity of Dickinson's curiosity about dying and her enthusiasm to learn of the dying persons' experience at the point of mortality is evident in her poetry. She studies the effect of the deads' disappearance, on the living world, in a hope to conjecture something about the new life they are experiencing after death. Dickinson believes that a dying person's consciousness does not die with the body at death but rather it lives on and intensifies. In To know just how He suffered-would be dear
To know just how He suffered -- would be dear --
To whom He could entrust His wavering gaze --
Until it settle broad -- on Paradise --
To know if He was patient -- part content --
Was Dying as He thought -- or different --
And did the Sunshine face his way --
What was His furthest mind -- Of Home -- or God --
Ill fluttered out -- in Everlasting Well --
And if He spoke -- What name was Best --
How Conscious Consiousness -- could grow --
Till Love that was -- and Love too best to be --
Meet -- and the Junction be Eternity
expresses her belief about the experience of dying and her wonderment of what happens during death. Dickinson suggests that the dying person's final gaze will be on paradise as if at the point of death it sees what is to come. Dickinson herself wants, "to know just how he suffered... To know if any Human eyes were near... To know if He was patient..." many questions like these are raised as to the experiences of the dying. She probes at the implications of leaving the living, searching for the strength of deaths appeal, and wondering abou the junction of love that existed during life and love that is to be, after life. Questions are raised about the person's attachments to th
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