Emily Dickinson

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Information about Emily Dickinson
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Published on February 26, 2013

Author: brigitte33

Source: authorstream.com

Emily Dickinson: Emily Dickinson A Selection Of her works for the HSC *Image via Bing *Image via Bing “An individuals perceptions o f belonging evolve in response t o the passage of time and interaction w ith their world.” In what ways is this view of belonging represented in your prescribed texts and at least One text of your own their own choosing. Poetry?: Poetry? W.B. Yeats once wrote; " When we quarrel with others, we make rhetoric; When we quarrel with ourselves, we make poetry". Other writers providing their reasons include: Franz Kafta’s - Writing should be an axe for the frozen sea inside us. Poetry is the expression of deeply felt emotions or feelings characterised by an intensity of thought and consciousness of thought patterns. Poetry is Personal — an attempt to capture the experience of significant moments of life. Poetry is central to each person’s core existence—of unique value to the fully realised life. Poetry celebrates the joys and mysteries of existence. Poetry demonstrates the ineffability of the human condition; language’s inability to bridge the chasm between our individual existences, revealing the inescapable fact of our aloneness Wordsworth  “ All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. PowerPoint Presentation: Emily Dickinson’s life enacts a very deliberate and dramatic approach to the question of belonging versus isolation: she chose isolation. *Image via Bing Dickinson’s poetry – in its startling originality as well as in the recurring sense of yearning and unrequited hope – is a representation of isolation. There is the repeated sense of the individual  -  alone in the face of the big questions of humanity (not least of which is death). At the same time, her focus on these big questions of humanity is unifying.: Dickinson’s poetry – in its startling originality as well as in the recurring sense of yearning and unrequited hope – is a representation of isolation. There is the repeated sense of the individual  -  alone in the face of the big questions of humanity (not least of which is death). At the same time, her focus on these big questions of humanity is unifying. *Image via Bing we are united in the face of hunger, passion, loneliness and death. We are isolated and yet conjoined by the simple fact of our shared humanity. The paradox of Dickinson’s poetry is echoed by the stylistic paradox of simplicity and complexity that characterises her writing. "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--/ Success in Circuit lies." : " Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--/ Success in Circuit lies." Great literature conceals its message and can intrigue you forever. Dickinson expressed this enigmatic technique in a letter. Oscar Wilde observed that "as soon as you understand a great work of art, it dies for you" . Unconventionally Dickinson used the hymn form As a device to communicate her ideas. View the video on the next slide. PowerPoint Presentation: *Video by EnglishGuyinTexas via YouTube This is my Letter to the World: This is my Letter to the World This is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me,-- The simple news that Nature told, With tender majesty. Her message is committed To hands I cannot see; For love of her, sweet countrymen, Judge tenderly of me! Analysis of this poem: Analysis of this poem Dickinson has a need for posterity to recognise her achievement . It is an example of Metapoetry – poetry that is aware of itself as a poem; how its construction can affect meaning. Dickinson provides a contrast between human society; complicated , complex and judgemental , and Nature, which is more simplified, “tender” yet majestic . To Dickinson, nature can be a benevolent force. Provides contrast with other poems in the selection. *Image via Bing Links to Belonging: Links to Belonging Persona – A Correspondent Places – it reflects a strong sense of place, and belonging to her “sweet countrymen” albeit an ironic sense of belonging Metonymical representation of the body of her works (the works belong together) Appeals & Conclusions?: Appeals & Conclusions? What conclusions can we draw from this poem? Criticism of the world (not ready for her) Not in step with her time – preferring Nature as a companion etc. Enigmatic – wants to be excluded but still part of society I had been hungry all the years: I had been hungry all the years I had been hungry all the years- I had been hungry all the years- My noon had come, to dine- I, trembling, drew the table near And touched the curious wine. 'T was this on tables I had seen When turning, hungry, lone, I looked in windows, for the wealth I could not hope to own. I did not know the ample bread, 'T was so unlike the crumb The birds and I had often shared In Nature's dining-room. The plenty hurt me, 't was so new,-- Myself felt ill and odd, As berry of a mountain bush Transplanted to the road. Nor was I hungry; so I found That hunger was a way Of persons outside windows, The entering takes away. Emily Dickinson Analysis of the poem: Analysis of the poem Metaphorically life is a banquet A striking ambivalence evident in her attraction and repulsion to an unknowable feast Understated craving for acceptance yet balanced by a resigned recognition that such acceptance calls for too much sacrifice of self. Asceticism (self-denial) is preferential to gluttony. She is tempted but prefers the simple adequacy of Nature symbolised by the “crumb” and her own feelings of displacement “Myself felt ill and odd, As berry of a mountain bush Transplanted to the road.” The words “ill” and “odd” and the imagery of the berry on the road create juxtapositon and abstraction. Religious allusions to bread and wine evoke the idea of communion and her not fully p articipating in the religious life of the community. Links to Belonging: Links to Belonging Persona is an outsider an aesthetic who is seen as ill or odd The opportunity for feasting “noon” causes trembling or trepidation “fear” she has grown to accustomed to the simple life. Based on psychological fact As those who starve cannot stomach normal foods until they have adapted to them. The reference to “noon” also has dual connotations operating literally as a time for eating or as an archetypical reflection of a mid-life crisis. The imagery of the “curious wine” could signify the desire to experience the richness of what others who feel they belong take for granted. The hunger the person feels – can be interpreted metaphorically as the pain of Rejection or not fitting in and feeling ill at ease or odd. The pain of not having What others have is resolved by the closeness to Nature and we get the feeling That Dickinson realises that she no longer wanted what she yearned for. Links to Belonging : Links to Belonging In this poem Dickinson may be using the antithesis of ‘inside’ ( her home) and ‘outside ( her society) to show her strong awareness that she does not belong. It creates an interesting reversal of Dickinson’s real-life situation. She withdrew from society by retiring within her own house and family circle, but here she creates a persona who is an outsider in both a literal and metaphorical sense – “Of person’s outside windows’ She is an outsider who has grown used to her alienation and withdrawal from society. Events and the concept of Belonging Dickinson describes various encounters, which reinforce either her sense of belonging in Nature or her alienation from society. Both are true of ‘ I had been hungry all the years,’ where the metaphorical encounter with the possibilities of nourishment shows her that she belongs to a different scheme of things: ‘I looked in windows for the wealth/ I could not hope for mine.” : Events and the concept of Belonging Dickinson describes various encounters, which reinforce either her sense of belonging in Nature or her alienation from society. Both are true of ‘ I had been hungry all the years,’ where the metaphorical encounter with the possibilities of nourishment shows her that she belongs to a different scheme of things: ‘I looked in windows for the wealth/ I could not hope for mine.” *Image via Bing *Image via Bing *Image via Bing The saddest noise the sweetest noise : The saddest noise the sweetest noise The saddest noise, the sweetest noise, The maddest noise that grows,— The birds, they make it in the spring, At night’s delicious close. Between the March and April line— That magical frontier Beyond which summer hesitates, Almost too heavenly near. It makes us think of all the dead That sauntered with us here, By separation’s sorcery Made cruelly more dear. It makes us think of what we had, And what we now deplore. We almost wish those siren throats Would go and sing no more. An ear can break a human heart As quickly as a spear, We wish the ear had not a heart So dangerously near. Analysis of the Poem: Analysis of the Poem Dickinson may have been reclusive but she was traumatised by the losses of her close family and friends There was a sense of belonging to a tight circle . The changing seasons show the cycle of life and death, despite the pain . Dickinson uses the bird song to express the simultaneous joy and pain of life . The paradox highlights the richness and frustration of being mortal. *Image via Bing *Image via Bing Links to Belonging: Links to Belonging The change of seasons is a time of instability that intensifies her feelings of belonging and exacerbates her feelings of loss . The progressing of time can intensify belonging. This is evident in Dickinson’s continual change of months and seasons as in, “March and April line .” This adjustment conveys a time of instability that hence intensifies the persona’s feelings of belonging and exasperates her feeling of loss. The personification of ‘summer’ in ‘ beyond which summer hesitates’ also reflects Dickinson’s ambivalence about possession and loss . Belonging occurs through a common human experience. Dickinson represents this in “The Saddest Noise, The Sweetest Noise” with her repetition of ‘we’ in the fourth stanza. By using this inclusive pronoun, Dickinson reinforces the notion of belonging through a shared experience of grief. This is due to the universality of death because of the human condition, which establishes a connection with the persona and the reader . Belonging creates an eternal connection. This is noticeable in “The Saddest Noise, The Sweetest Noise” due to the persona’s grief after a loved one dies. This is seen in, “ It makes us think of all the dead/ That sauntered with us here,/ By separation’s sorcery,” where the sibilance of the ‘s’ sounds emphasises the persona’s contemplation of loss. Paradoxes and language techniques: Paradoxes and language techniques The beauty of the changing seasons is tainted by the knowledge of that which cannot and will not be renewed: the lives of lost lovers. The memory of whom, is “cruelly dear ”. The setting of the poem is the edges, the in-between places the “magical frontier” Between Winter and Spring and the moment before dawn. Regular rhythm and rhyming scheme – near, dear, here, frontier, and spear Same rhyming scheme in stanzas two, three and five. Inclusive language “We” Allusions to myth and fairy-tales Word Choice “dangerously” Alliteration of the “s” sound in the phrase “separation’s sorcery.” Links to Belonging: Links to Belonging The persona here is neither childlike nor innocent, she is fully aware and even world weary . Yet in spite of this she can still appreciate and connect with nature. However her feelings, too, are on the edges. She hesitates, she “almost wishes” and Summer is “almost too heavenly near”. That last line conveys the awkwardness and anticipation of the emotion rhythmically . The speaker’s sense of belonging in the environment is as strong as the sense of loss being described. The final stanza makes the connection between hearing and feeling very clear. The violence of the spear simile and the word “dangerously” in the last line, underline the depth of emotion being experienced through the sense of hearing. Dickinson frequently uses words and images that are incongruous or extreme to show her sensitivity to such things as the beauty of Nature, especially when she has experienced private grief, and this appears to be the case in this poem. While she is at home in Nature, she still shows signs of alienation from it in several poems. In ‘A narrow fellow in the grass” she singles out the snake as the one disturbing and alienating aspect of Nature. In What mystery pervades a well! She conveys a sense of horror behind the commonplace, and in Saddest noise, the sweetest noise’ she explores the distress causes by beautiful sounds. These all show the speaker’s sense of belonging in Nature to be tempered by her awareness of its mystery and its capacity to wound and alienate. What mystery pervades a well: What mystery pervades a well Dickinson frequently uses words and images that are incongruous or extreme to show her sensitivity to such things as the beauty of Nature. What mystery pervades a well! That water lives so far – A neighbor from another world Residing in a jar Whose limit none has ever seen, But just his lid of glass – Like looking every time you please In an abyss's face! The grass does not appear afraid, I often wonder he Can stand so close and look so bold At what is awe to me. Related somehow they may be, The sedge stands near the sea – Where he is floorless And does no timidity betray But nature is a stranger yet: The ones that cite her most Have never passed her haunted house, Nor simplified her ghost. To pity those that know her not Is helped by the regret That those who know her, know her less The nearer her they get. Analysis of the poem: Analysis of the poem Dickinson can take a familiar place, to which we would normally have a very secure sense of belonging, and turn it into something alienating. She describes looking into a well as like looking into the ‘abyss,’ using a simile to create a sense of horror from the familiar.Dickinson contrasts a man made well with natural sources of water. Both are unfathomable.  The well is a mystery because of its depth and potential for danger, it is compared variously to “ a neighbour in a jar”, or the ultimate horror; “an abyss”.   Nature is also unknowable, inexplicable or inscrutable because even those who are closest to it are overwhelmed by its complexity. Nature is “a stranger yet” - compared to  a “haunted house” or “ghost ”. The major paradox is that those who live close to nature are as baffled by it as those who are removed from it.  The closer you get to something, the more difficult it can be to understand it; sometimes you need distance or detachment. Dickinson, though close to nature, feels that she knows little about it. This poem starts with an observation of a concrete object – the well and then philosophises in general terms about nature and epistemology - the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, in particular its foundations, scope, and validity. Techniques: Techniques Boundaries between ourselves and the world we belong to. Words communicate by association; they resonate through suggestion, nuances , innuendo so responders may glean or infer a variety of messages. The word “abyss” is the explosive one in this poem because of its potential for meaning. It suggests profound danger – the boundary between ecstasy and horror, between life and death, between heaven and hell. This could suggest that Dickinson suffers from a phobia (an irrational morbid fear) about water (aqua or hydrophobia)  or enclosed spaces (claustrophobia ) later reinforced by the ambiguity of the word “awe”. On one hand it means awe-inspiring, while conversely it could just as easily be awful - frightening. Following two stanzas on man-made sources of water, Dickinson turns to nature for the next four.  Nature appears much more serene and tranquil; the grass shows no sign of fear while the sedge betrays no timidity to stand so close to the sea. *Image via Bing Links to Belonging: Links to Belonging Ideas about Belonging The poem links to the belonging Dickinson feels with the natural world and/or her friend. (Susan) She celebrates and reveres nature and feels a deep connection with it . This, of course, is in contrast to how she feels about the world at large. The equilibrium of nature is also part of this poem. There is a sense of ease within it and its elements enjoy a symbiotic relationship of true belonging. PowerPoint Presentation: Belonging in Nature does not necessarily mean we ‘know’ her. The ‘haunted house’ and ‘ ghost’ imagery may hint at the mystery of death that stands behind the workings of Nature, or it may suggest her ungraspability . The imagery in the poem is very diverse and helps emphasise the extraordinary philosophical range of her poems. There are more full rhymes than half-rhymes, which may indicate her confidence, as previously noted, in her acceptance of the unknowable. Enigma: Enigma We belong in a universe that can be alienating and ineffable, and the best way of coping may be to accept those aspects with wonder and awe . Dickinson seems to suggest that the humility of alienation or ignorance is preferable to the unfounded or arrogant presumption of knowledge. In the last stanza she seems to suggest that a sense of awe or wonder is more conducive to understanding than close study: ‘those who know her, know her less/ The nearer her they get.’ It is a very abstract poem with an awe-inspiring well to the enigma of Nature. The tone of this stanza is confident, suggesting that the speaker has faith in her own judgement , even though she is mystified by its alienating aspects. Perhaps she is able to simply accept the inscrutability of Nature.

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