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July 31, 2012

Essay on Emily Dickinson's Poetry


Dickinson was a prolific American poet who is known for her unique use of language with unconventional capitalization and punctuation. She used unique language to an extent that the publishers had to alter much of her poetry to conform to the conventional poetic rules of the time. In her poems, she extensively used short lines and often slant rhyme. The recurring themes of her poetry are death and immortality.
The locals considered her to be an eccentric character as she had an inclination for white clothing and indifference to entertain her guests. It was not until after her death in 1886 when Lavinia, Emily's younger sister, found out her collection of poems which was later published after four years. She, a well-behaved and sophisticated lady, always wanted to establish harmonious relationships with other and to avoid confronting personal emotions of disagreeable and intense nature. She lived a very reserved family life. Though she never married but she had relationships with several out-of-family friends, mentors and confidants. She was an introvert who chose to live in her life of imagination and creativity. For her, the value of expectation was far greater than actual reality.
Her extensive use of dashes and unconventional capitalization in manuscripts, and the idiosyncratic vocabulary and imagery, serve to produce a body of work that is "far more various in its styles and forms than is commonly supposed."(McNeil, 27) Instead of using pentameter, she opted for trimeter and sometimes diameter. These meters are mostly irregular with the seldom of irregular ones. The form that she used more often was ballad stanza---a conventional form divided into quatrains using tetrameter for the first and third lines with trimeter for the second and fourth line rhyming as ABCB.

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