Emily Dickinson is an important poet principally because of the distinctiveness of her writing. Though only 7 out of her 1,200 poems were published critics still classify her as one of the principle poets of her time. In Dickinson’s life the most important things to her were love, religion, individuality and nature. While writting about these themes she followed her lifestyle by braking away from the traditional forms of writing and wrote with an intense energy and complexity never seen before and rarely seen today. Her poems are written expressions of personal experiences throughout her life. It would be hard to classify her as a certain type of writter because of the diversity of her poems, but they can be broken down individualy into four main themes: Romanticism, Realism, Individuality, and Depression.
Romanticism emphasized passion rather than reason, imagination and intuition rather than logic and full expression of the emotions. Which is exatly what Dickinson wrote about in many of her poems. Poem 214 is a prime example of this.
“I taste a liquor never brewed-
From Tankards scooped in Pearl-
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such and Alcohol!”
“Inebriate of Air-am I-
And Debauchee of Dew-
Reeling-thro endless summer days-
From inns of Molten Blue-“
“When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door-
When Butterflies-renounce their “drams”-
I shall but drink the more!”-214
This Poem by Dickinson demonstrates her universal spirit and beleif that nature is not only a source of comfort but also Gods greatest reflection. Beleifs that are identical to those exhibited by many Romanticists. She speaks of being high on nature, a feeling of intoxication that not even the “Frankfort berries” could provide, and every bee, butterfly or parcil of Gods creation only makes her higher.
Another example of the diversity in Dickinson’s poems is her existential view of life on earth in poem 301.
“I reason, Earth is short-
And many hurt,
But, what of that?
I reason, we could die-
The best Vitality
Cannont excell Decay,
But, what of that?
I reason, that in Heaven-
Somehow, it will be even-
Some new Equation, given-
But, what of that?-301
Dickinson’s attitudes of sorrow and hopelessness are displayed in this poem. A question that everyone is sure to ask themself at one point in their life “what does it all matter”, obviously this poem relects deppression, an emotion she must have been feeling while writting this poem.
Dickinson also went against the Church which was an extreme rarity of the time. Similar to many other that shared her beliefs she too did not think that a set religion was the way for salvation. This certain poem not only contains Romanticism, but also demonstrates her beleif in Non-Conformity.
“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolike for a chorister,
With an orchard for a dome.
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice-
I just wear my Wings-
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton-sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman-
And the sermon is never long
So instead of getting to heaven, at last-
I’m going, all along.-324
According to this poem Dickinson clearly states that nature is her source of guidance and that she doesn’t have any need for the Church as an institution. She is a non-conformist in that she doesn’t beleive in the church and a Romanticist by describing her church as the natural world around her, Gods true temple of worship, a place where she isn’t forced to listen to long drawn out sermons.
Sought to portray things as they really are, Realism was the movement that attempted to picture people and things as they really are. In Dickinson’s poem 241 she does an incredible job at camparing anguish with truth.
“I like the look of Agony,
Because I know it’s true-
Men do not sham Convulsion,
Nor simulate, a Throe-
The Eyes glaze once-and that is Death-
Impossible to feign
The Beads upon the Forehead
By homely Anguish strung.”-241
Because pain and agony can’t be faked Dickinson beleives that death is the ultimate truth. The way that the beads of sweat align on your forehead and the look upon your face tells all. Honest can’t be hidden when your faceing death. A true example of Realism.
There are a wide range of emotions eshibited by Dickinson through the many poems she had written throughout her life. Many may be direct emotions felt by her in different stages of her life. The wide range of themes discussed through out her poetry reflect the diversity of her writting with the complex imagery and depth to her poems she is definetly one of America’s greatest poets.