Dickinson and Her Religion Essay

1065 Words Jun 17th, 2005 5 Pages
Dickinson and her Religion

Emily Dickinson was one of the greatest woman poets. She left us with numerous works that show us her secluded world. Like other major artists of nineteenth-century American introspection such as Emerson, Thoreau, and Melville, Dickinson makes poetic use of her vacillations between doubt and faith. The style of her first efforts was fairly conventional, but after years of practice she began to give room for experiments. Often written in the meter of hymns, her poems dealt not only with issues of death, faith and immortality, but with nature, domesticity, and the power and limits of language. Dickinson's Christian education affected her profoundly, and her desire for a human intuitive faith motivates and
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The speaker assumes the wondering openness of a child and invokes God in whom she confides without hesitation, Her confiding generosity is what makes the poem work, along with its metrical subtlety, especially in the last stanza, where the modulation of open half-rhymes intimates the presence of the sophisticated poet behind childlike speaker. The thematic emphasis on inner transformation following on natural delight, voiced simply here, persists through all of Dickinson's poems of faith in the experience of nature. In Poem 342, Dickinson marks the changing of natural seasons as a material, visible embodiment of immortality (Duchac). Using both the language of the physical, natural world and the language of the sacramental, Dickinson recognizes a symbolic experience of spirituality and rebirth. This experience, of course, lies outside the realms of the church and is a revolutionary form of sacrament. Here, the material "sign and seal" is not sanctioned by doctrine, but is nevertheless experienced intimately by the poet as a sacred experiential marker. For Dickinson, connection to the natural world is a connection to the real self, and ultimately to the Divine. Here, divine promise becomes real in the cycles of nature rather than in the communion cup or at the baptismal font. In Poem 508, Dickinson

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