The Life and Death Of Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson is one of the most admired American poets. Emily only ranks third as the best known American poet after Longfellow and Whitman. One of Emily Dickinson's most famous poems is "I am Nobody, who are you?" I'm nobody, who are you? Are you nobody too? Then there's a pair of us, don't tell! They'd banish us, you know! How dreary to be somebody! How public, like a frog To tell your name the livelong day To an admiring bog! (Emily Dickinson 4) Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830. She was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily was the second born of three children.
Her older brother was William Austin Dickinson. He was born the year of 1828. Emily's younger sister was Lavinia Dickinson, who was born in February of 1833. All the Dickinson children were born in their home town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily's parents were Edward Dickinson and Emily Norcross. Edward, Emily's father, was born in Massachusetts, Emily, Emily's mother, was born in Monson, Massachusetts.
Edward Dickinson was the oldest of nine children, and her mother was the third of nine children in her family. Edward Dickinson and Emily Norcross got married on May 6 th, in 1828. Samuel Fowler Dickinson was Emily's grandfather, the father of Edward Dickinson. He was born in 1775 in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Samuel Fowler Dickinson built the Dickinson Homestead on Main Street in Amherst. It was the first brick home to be built in that town.
Emily's grandfather also founded the Amherst Academy in 1814. The academy was located west of the corner of Pleasant and Amity street, Massachusetts. Samuel died in April of 1838. Emily's father, Edward was a Whig in Congress and a treasurer of the college his father founded, Amherst College. Edward made enough money to move his family to a house on North Pleasant Street. They lived there until he bought back the Homestead in 1855.
He then proceeded to add on to the house by building a two story "L" shaped wing onto the back, so that there would be more room in the house for everyone. A good portion of Emily's family were members of the Congregational Church. Emily never became a member. Edward Dickinson spent part of the years 1864 and 1865 in Boston being treated for eye trouble. He died at the age of fifty-five of Bright's disease. Emily's mother died in 1882 after being ill for many days.
William Austin Dickinson was the third Dickinson to be a community leader at Amherst. He worked in his father's law office. Also after his father, Edward, died William took over his duties of being the treasurer of Amherst College. William met Susan Gilbert a close friend of Emily's and in 1856 they were wed.
William and Susan then had three children, Ned, Martha and Gilbert. In 1883 William and Susan had a sad experience when their son Gilbert died. Emily's brother, William, died in 1895. Emily only went to two schools in her life time. At the age of nine, she started school at Amherst Academy and spent the years 1840 to 1847 there. Emily studied botany and horticulture.
When she turned 17, Emily began to attend South Hadley Female Seminary, which was later called Mount Holyoke College. Emily only attended that school for one year 1847-1848. She was only there for one year because she became very homesick. In the spring of 1854 Emily Dickinson went to Washington and Philadelphia for a few weeks to visit her father while he was in Congress.
Emily made two trips to Boston while she was alive. Her first trip was in 1864. She had to go to see an eye specialist named Dr. Henry Williams. While Emily was there she stayed with her cousins, Fanny and Louisa Norcross, in Cambridge port, Massachusetts.
The second time she went to Boston was in 1865 for some eye treatments. She was there for the period of six months. While Emily was having her treatments for her eyes she was forbidden to do any writing. After she returned home she never spoke of what had happened again. On one of Emily's trips to Philadelphia she met a man name Reverend Charles Wadsworth.
Emily was very inspired and emotionally aroused by him. In 1860 he came to visit her at the homestead but shortly after his visit he left to go to the west coast. Once Reverend Charles Wadsworth left it made Emily heartsick because she admired him so deeply. Samuel Bowles was another man who meant a lot in Emily's life. They first met in the late 1850's. Emily and Samuel were very close friends.
Some people were led to believe that Emily was in love with the married man. Samuel printed many of Emily Dickinson's poems in his newspaper. The one true love in Emily's life was an unknown man who loved her back in the same way, but Emily would not marry him. Many people also believe that Emily loved the man Leonard Humphrey who was the first person to tell her that she should become a poet. He died at the age of 26. Emily Dickinson never married and lived her whole life in the Homestead.
Emily's life long friend, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, met Emily in early 1862. Thomas was a editor for the Atlantic Monthly. Emily had sent four of her poems in to be published, but the response Thomas gave was not good. He told Emily that her work was not suitable to be published for this time period because of the language and form she used in her poems. Over the next twenty years Emily and Thomas met several times to talk.
Once Emily reached her thirties in the 1860's she began to exclude the outside world. Emily Dickinson spent the rest of her life with out going further than her garden. She only saw her family and some of her close friends. Emily always wore white and she would write her poems on scarps of paper and tuck them away so no one could read them. In her remaining years she rarely left her house, and her visitors were very limited. The people who did come to see Emily made an impact on her and these were reflected in the poetry she wrote.
Only Emily's closest friends and family knew that she wrote poetry because she would regularly include a poem or lines from her poems in letters she wrote to her friends and family. In her early thirties she tried to have some of her work published but she came to find that the publishers thought her work was ahead of its time and did not meet with success. In her life time only seven of poems were ever published but each of them had been changed by the editor to fit the days's tankards of rhyme and punctuation. Emily was not recognized by the public in her life time. Emily's poems consisted of the loneliness she had in her life. She wrote over 1, 800 poems while she was alive.
Most of her work didn't have a title to it, so the poems were named by numbers when they were published. Emily Dickinson's work was influenced by poets of seventeenth century England. She highly admired the poetry that Robert, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and John Keats wrote. Emily had asked that all manuscripts of her work be burned after she died. The book I chose to read by Emily Dickinson was Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. In the book there were four different sections of poems; "Life", "Love", "Nature", and "Time and Eternity." The poems in the section about "Life", mostly relate to Emily's life.
Some of them reflect the stories of her life, from unfortunate experiences like her father dying to good experiences like all the things she did as a child with her family. These poems were also about the things that were going on around her during her lifetime. The poems in the section "Love", were mostly about the love she had toward people in her life, from her family to her friends. Some of the poems were written about the love she saw shown to others around her. The section "Nature" had poems written about the wilderness surrounding Emily Dickinson.
She wrote many poems about flowers and the living things found in nature. There were also poems about the different seasons and the weather. The last section, "Time and Eternity" had poems about the time Emily had remaining until she died. Most of these poems were written about the experience of dying, or what she thought it would feel like to die and what would happen after death. My favorite section in the book was the section about "Love." I enjoyed reading those poems the most because when I read them I felt what she was trying to saying in them.
My favorite poem out of the ones I read was "Love." Love is anterior to life, Posterior to death, Initial of creation, and The exponent of breath (Emily Dickinson 76) I really like this poem because it told something that not many people know. I feel it told what love is. So many people use the word "love" with out even knowing what it means. I think that this poem, even though it is short, tells exactly what love really is. It is saying that love is life.
If there wasn't love, then there would be no life for people. I also really liked reading the poems that Emily Dickinson wrote about Nature. The one that stuck out the most to me was "A Rose." A sepal, petal, and a thorn Upon a common summer's morn, A flash of dew, a bee or two, A breeze A caper in the trees, And I'm a rose! (Emily Dickinson 145) I just thought that this poem was very beautiful. I think she was trying to say what it would be like to be a rose, or what you would see every day if you were a rose. I did enjoy reading of Emily Dickinson's poems. I felt that each one of them had a different meaning to her in life.
I think each piece of her work was a piece of her life. I don't think that when Emily wrote these poems she knew they would be famous pieces of writing someday. After the many times that her work was rejected for publishing when she was alive, she just kept writing because she enjoyed doing it. I think that is a good quality about her and to her fans of her work. It shows that you should never give up on something you enjoy even if it isn't going the way you wished it would. Emily later learned that she had Bright's disease, and it would end her life shortly, as it did her father's life.
"A few months before her death Emily sent a short note to her cousin Norcross of whom she was quite fond" (Virtual Emily 63). Emily Dickinson passed away on May 15, 1886 at the age of 56, in the Homestead Home in Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily did not want a funeral in a church. She wanted to have small gathering at the homestead. She was buried on a bright, beautiful, Spring day. Her very close friend Thomas was at the burial.
Emily Dickinson's sister Lavina later found all of Emily's poems in a drawer. Lavina died in 1899. Thomas was one of those who helped get her work published. The first volume of Emily Dickinson's work was published in 1890 and the last volume was published in 1955. Emily was a wonderful poet. She worked very hard on her poetry.
Even though she spent most of her life after her father died isolated from the outside world, Emily seemed to see / feel a lot more in life than most people did. Instead of going out and talking to people she would talk to them in her poems. Emily lived a very interesting life. From having a grandfather that founded Amherst Academy to having written 1, 800 poems in her life time, Emily's life was varied and interesting. Unfortunately the people of her time her unable to enjoy her work as none of her poems were published until many years after her death. In today's world Emily Dickinson is recognized as an outstanding poet in American Literature.
Work Cited "Brief Biography of Emily Dickinson." On-line Internet. 28 March, 2002. Available web > Gilson, Bill, "Emily Dickinson." On-line Internet, 28 March, 2002. Available web bio. html "Emily Dickinson." On-line Internet, 27 March, 2002. Available web > "Emily Dickinson." 14 Jun.
2001. On-line Internet, 22 March, 2002. Available web > "Virtual Emily." On-line Internet, 27 March, 2002. Available web > "Emily Dickinson" Wilson Web.
online. 27 March, 2002.