Little known during her life, she has since been regarded as one of the most important figures in American poetry. Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts into a prominent family with strong ties to its community. After studying at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she briefly attended the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. Evidence suggests that Dickinson lived much of her life in isolation. Considered an eccentric by locals, she developed a penchant for white clothing and was known for her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, to even leave her bedroom. Dickinson never married, and most friendships between her and others depended entirely upon correspondence.
No two poems have exactly the same understanding of death, however. Death is sometimes gentle, sometimes menacing, sometimes simply inevitable. All of these varied pictures of death, however, do not truly contradict each other. Death is the ultimate unknowable, and so Dickinson circles around it, painting portraits of each of its many facets, as a way to come as close to knowing it as she can. Dickinson is fascinated and obsessed with the idea of truth, and with finding it in her poems. This is reflected in how she deals with all of her other themes. Her poems come back to these central themes again and again, but they are never treated in exactly the same way.
E mily Dickinson never married, but because her canon includes magnificent love poems, questions concerning her love life have intrigued readers since her first publication in the s. Speculation about whom she may have loved has filled and continues to fill volumes. Early Dickinson biographers identified Gould as a suitor who may have been briefly engaged to the poet in the s, and recent scholarship has shed new light on the theory Andrews, pp.
You probably know someone who is preoccupied with death: in kindergarten, he severed limbs off Play-dough statues; in second grade, he drew pictures of car accidents and decapitated heads spilling brains on the freeway; in 5th grade, he wrote stories about driving a semi through the carnival midway and running over anyone in his way; in middle school, he only wore shirts with dead rockstars on the front; and in high school, he dyed his hair black, dressed like Marilyn Manson, got a skull tattoo on his neck, and pierced his face in 27 places. Analysis : Dickinson uses the central image of a tombstone overgrown with weeds to comment on the shortness of life. Analysis : Dickinson personifies death as a kind stage coach driver taking its visitor, not to some ghastly abode, but toward eternity with Immortality. Analysis : Dickinson tries her hand at dramatic poetry with a conversation between Death and Spirit.