Emily Dickinson Thematic, Stylistic and Other Characteristics Term Paper

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Emily Dickinson

Thematic, Stylistic and other Characteristics Unique to Emily Dickinson's Poetry

Emily Dickinson is perhaps the best of two or three examples of a completely unique voice within 19th century American poetry [another is Walt Whitman]. In her lifetime Dickinson wrote over 2000 poems (most were discovered and subsequently published only after Dickinson's death). The poet characteristically snares particularly ephemeral subject matter (e.g., "a certain slant of light") and then to go about metaphorically examining its deeper content and essence on which an entire experience or impression then pivots. Especially from a structural perspective, then, that is a frequent way of the author's beginning to proceed through the rest of her (in the vast majority of cases, anyway) wholly metaphorical design, within these and myriad other poems of hers. The 'tools' of Dickinson's poetic examination of such fleeting "subject" offer examples, in this same vein in fact, of not just the unique "stuff" of her poetry but also the way she writes it.

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Poems for which Dickinson is especially well-known, e.g., "Because I could not stop for Death" (712); "I Heard a Fly buzz -- when I died (465)"; "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant" (1129); "There's a certain Slant of light" (258), and "After great pain, a formal feeling comes - (341) (for example) may (in my referring to them here) be used to try to shed some more general light on key compositional; stylistic, thematic and other artistic tendencies and practices of the author that make her poetry stand out. Within these, for instance Dickinson's respective speakers each imply metaphorically a core importance of something like a frozen moment in time; or a brief yet almost palpable mood; or a fleeting yet somehow perhaps, now, permanently melancholy [anyway] impression.

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Emily Dickinson also characteristically "builds" lines; phrases, or even whole stanzas of several subsequent lines in fact, from "castles in the air" (so-to-speak, or so it often seems, anyway) of various abstract combinations of almost pure metaphor/synecdoche combined: e.g., "And then… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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