Emily Dickinson is known to be one of the most brilliant and original poet of her time. She is still believed to be one of the greatest minds in our era. Although she only published four of her works, she was well known for her strange way of writing. Dickinson was a very unique writer but in her own way. Her poetry was so exceptional that we consider it to be one of the finest in the English language. Dickinson’s poetry was too remarkable that most of the time, her work was misunderstood by many critics. People couldn’t relate to her poems since they were written due to the inspiration of Dickinson’s life experience. Dickinson grew up living in isolation and had very few interactions with humans.
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Although she lived her life in seclusion, Dickinson had such brilliance to write poems that portrayed so much power. Her poetry overwhelmed people because it was written in such a way that was never seen before. Dickinson wrote an estimated total of 1,800 poems, but did not publish them because of all the harsh criticism she received from critics with the publication of only four poems. She died in 1886 due to Bright’s disease,but her poetry was found and put out into the eyes of the world. Many people criticized her poems and tried to understand them to the best of their ability. A lot of information about Dickinson’s poems were discovered one of which was the fact that Dickinson did not name her poems but, instead she numbered them. Dickinson’s style and theme were her greatest aspects of her poems. Her style of writing is what made her poems so unique to everyone’s eyes.
Emily Dickinson’s use of slant rhymes, startling metaphors, and metrical variations captures one’s attention and ignites one’s imagination. Her way of writing was absolutely extraordinary and so different from the others which is what makes her one of the greatest poet to ever live. Emily Dickinson was such an intellect who combined her curiosity and life experience into compelling and concise poems that captured the life experiences humans face. Her poems are constructed in a form of lyrics for some reason that no one knows. Dickinson’s poems always had a single speaker because they were so short and she made it a way that the speaker isn’t always Dickinson herself. Dickinson was very intelligent to portray her poem’s point of view which is the first person as a supposed person so her readers have the ability to read her poems as if they are the one telling the poem (Amherst College).
Dickinson’s life experience came in very handy for her poems since it affected her style so much. Being affected by many crisis in her life such as trying to make sense of love or religion, her vulnerability and the fact that she had to deal with many deaths in her life, affected the way she wanted to present her poems. Her poems were written in such a style or structure that will be able to represent the way certain life events reshape a person’s understanding of serial existence (Vendler, 143).
Dickinson’s unique style of using literary devices captured the attention of her audience. Many of the literary devices used in her works were alliteration, simile, metaphor, and symbolism, but more so metaphors. Her way of comparing abstract concepts with concrete images produced a relationship between abstract ideas and material things to explain one another. Using metaphors was a common process for Dickinson because she loved defining a concept in terms of another which will then produce a new layer of meaning in which both of the terms are changed (Poetry Foundation). In poem number 303, Dickinson displays a metaphor of a house to build an enclosure for the soul. Dickinson’s use of sharp metaphors enhances her style and poems. Having to live life in seclusion, Dickinson grew up reading Webster’s dictionary. She had a very keen interest in words. Vocabulary was able to give her the identity she wanted. Dickinson enjoyed language and was so intrigued by it just for the fun of it. She went onto making words her main tools in her poems. Diction was used in the most unusual ways in her poems, and it was something so new and so unlike women in her days (Borus, 39).
Dickinson was pretty daring when she challenged the existing definitions of poetry through her works. She had a tendency of using words that had incompatible meanings and also used them as possibilities for another. Dickinson’s use of linguistics and sense of dramatics help describe her style. Her life experience was one that was always guarded. She lived a life full of tension and in her poems, she shows the live she had to live and the one she aspired to live. Through words, Dickinson conveyed this tension. Words helped Dickinson escape and gave her a place where she could come alive and experience the world outside of her shell of a house. Language was able to provide her with the power that she never had. Dickinson was always in her own world since she did live alone and that may have contributed to her creation of private meanings of words and symbols which others had no meaning to (Melani, 2009). Many of Dickinson’s poems are actually definitions of words which goes on to show how much she absolutely loved and savored words and its definitions. However, her language was very constricted and if it became too extreme, then it made her poem very complex which is why many misunderstand her poems. Her language is just so incomprehensible in most of her poems that the poem became like a riddle or an intellectual puzzle (Melani, 2009).
There are so many things that contribute to the unusual style of Emily Dickinson, some of which is her unusual capitalization of words and her usage of dashes in her poems. In her poems, you can see her tendency of capitalizing common and proper nouns. The capitalization is apparently done to make common things seem more important to people ( Borus, 36). She went against the conventions of grammar and punctuation. Dickinson is one of the many poets who is known for using dashes in her poems. She depended on these dashes to control the rhythm of her poems. She inputted dashes at the end of a line and also within the lines of her poems. She used these dashes to put emphasis on a missing word or words, or to even replace any punctuation such as a comma or a period (Borus, 36). These dashes served as a varied punctuation in her poems and acted as bridges between sections of the poems (Amherst College). Dickinson also had an unusual way of using rhymes that not many poets used. She experimented with meter and rhymes. Dickinson uses slant rhymes which are imperfect rhymes and she uses the common meter which is the alternating lines of 8 syllables with 6 syllables (Amherst College).
Dickinson loved using the meters of the English hymns. In her poems, it’s visible that she loved experimenting with a variation of metrical and stanzaic forms. Dickinson’s use of such rhymes and meter inspired it to be common in modern poetry. Another uncommon thing that is found in Dickinson’s poems but is’t found in other poet’s works is that she takes out helping verbs and connecting words (Melani, 2009). This was Dickinson’s cryptic style that intrigues her readers. Emily Dickinson’s style of thinking is cryptic, enigmatic, and so appealing to the eye. She had an intriguing appeal of finding actuality or the heart of things. This inspired Dickinson to remove unnecessary language and punctuation from her poems. Dickinson has a style so unique in the English language that even until this day, we don’t really know why she portrayed the kind of style that she did in her poems.
Through the method of compressed language, Dickinson was able to to produce breathtaking effects in her poems.The rules of grammar and sentence structure did not phase Dickinson for she did not care for it. However, instead of being condemned by critics for such behavior, the 20th century critics actually found this pretty appealing. Dickinson unusual way of writing is known to be among the best. There couldn’t be any other poet with such brilliance as her. Dickinson’s idiosyncratic style is one of a kind which makes her so special.
Emily Dickinson Literature Style. (2019, Jul 03).
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