To me, Dickinson has a unique style of writing, which make them seem almost like small meditations. It is easy for me to imagine Emily shrouded over her desk, attempting to understand the mechanics and workings of the human mind, of power in society, and of the suppression of women in society. Especially, I think much of her work is centered around the body and the mind, in her personal life, or simply as a broad interpretation. One of her poems is composed of three stanzas, each beginning with “The Brain is…(1216).” Another describes, in a very mechanical way, the actions of the body “After great pain (1211).” In some ways she explores the deep psychological intricacies of the human condition, and in other ways it seems as if she is setting up a system for the way the mind reacts and interprets.
Dickinson uses symbolism and the metaphor aptly. Many times I feel as if the weight of the poem is so heavy simply because she uses words or statements that have such a broad range of interpretation. Things like: “Philosophy,” “Beauty,” “My life,” and “Pain.” Although these words seem to bear down the meaning of a poem, and make it more difficult to see exactly what Emily is talking about in these meditations, the use of metaphors in junction with these broad words, make her statements seem more worldly and global. Perhaps this is the reason that her poetry has become so widely recognized. By keeping the subject of a poem mysterious, and by using broad metaphorical statements like she does, the reader is informed of the conflict and resolution of these poems through more abstract and widely understandable means.
I enjoy Dickinson’s poetry, it’s removal from specifics seems to ode to it’s powerful messages. Here are some questions to think about:
1. Does Dickinson’s poetry rely too heavily on broad abstractions and statements, or is there strength in the broad realizations she makes?
2. What are some of the things Dickinson is attacking or interpreting in her poems. Are her poems mainly personal, or do they confront societal norms?