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Nayera El Miniawi
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Global Journal of Art and Social Science Education

ISSN: 2437-1904 Vol. 3 (1), pp. 064-068


Environmental and personal elements shaping the poetry of Emily Dickinson 

Nayera El Miniawi 

Princess Alia University College, Al Balqaa Applied University, Amman, Jordan 

Accepted 25 February, 2015


Emily Dickinson is said to be a "poet-child". With her natural inspiration of a poet she could feel deeply. She was in constant suffering from loneliness, separation and bereavement. Emily then turned to words in order to express not only personal subjective phenomena but these by turn turned into universal ones. She raised a cry of veto against an unsatisfactory life. The poet in her adapted a private inner life. Of expression which is that of childhood. In her search of the immortal she found it not (only) in a dream of life after death but rather she found it the essentials within us. These essentials are correlated with the eternally child-like in all human beings. Children are to her sons of Gods. They are more of angels though they do not have much knowledge. When Emily assumed the role of the eternal child she was trying to achieve a constant process of rebirth. Emily notes the daily routine of the life she is passing from. The image of children playing games during a school recess is the starting point and focus of the poem. This scene catches her sight then the sense of motion is quickened or rather one should say that the sense of time comes to an end as they pass the cycle of the day and the seasons of the year at a period of both ripeness and decline. The world "passed" echoes through the stanza. Emily conveys her feeling of being now outside time and change for she corrects herself to say that the sun passed them, as it of course does all who are in the grave. This poem starts wittily and shrewdly by the lines: Because I could not stop for Death; He kindly stopped for me. In that respect, Emily typically American. For "the American Artist sees life with fresh questioning eyes as a child does in his optimistic nativity, searching for his real self." () This interest in childhood is also a romantic trait since the Romantics in general regarded children with an awe and respect akin to the divine. This attitude also relates Emily to her Puritan up-bringing. In an age of flourishing civilization and decaying morals and spiritual beliefs, the puritans and Emily Dickinson were searching for a center of stability and solidity so they resorted to the inner self. “Emily never outgrew her childish impishness which is reflected in much of her poetry." She wrote with a style so light, simple and lively that it jumped, hopped and danced like a ballerina. Sometimes her style expressed a tone of a mischievous child with its gay nonsense which concealed under statements of irony and rebellion, artistically speaking Emily was that potent that her words expressed moods – and her sounds conveyed meanings. Her imagery was often endowed with an eerie excitement which could belong to no one but could. Even physically Emily was described by Higginson, her preceptor, in this childlike frame. "A step like a pattering child's in entry and in glided a little plain women with two smooth bands of reddish hair . . . She came to me with two lilies, which she put in a sort of childlike way into my hand and said 'these are my introduction' in a soft frightened breathless childlike voice.” In Emily Dickinson, the very human childhood was her tongue and the seraphic angelic childhood in their heart

Keywords: Emily Dickinson, shaping the poetry, poet child