Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst Massachusetts.
She had a younger sister named Lavina and an older brother named Austin. Her mother Emily Norcross Dickinson, was largely dependent on her family and was seen by Emily as a bad mother. Her father was lawyer, Congressman, and the Treasurer for Amherst College. Emilys mother and father didnt get along very well, but unlike her mother Emily loved and admired her father.
Emilys family lived a quiet secure life. They rarely shared their problems with one another so Emily had plenty of privacy for writing. During her childhood, Emily and her family attended The First Congregational Church on every Sunday. Emily did not like going to church because she didn’t think of herself as being very religious. She refused to believe that Heaven was a better place than Earth and eventually rebelled from the church.
Emily saw herself as a woman who had her own way of thinking, a way of thinking shaped neither by the church or society. By the time she was twelve, her family moved to a house on Pleasant Street where they lived from 1840 to 1855. Emily was already writing letters, but composed most of her poetry in this home.
Emily only left home to attend Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for two semesters. She impressed her teachers with her courage and directness in her poetry. They felt her writing was very good. At the age of twenty-one, Emily and her family moved to the Dickinson Homestead on Main Street. This move was very difficult for Emily.
This was difficult for Emily because she became very attached to her old house. They now lived next door to her brother Austin and his wife Susan and their daughter Martha. Emily and Susan became so close that many people believe they may have been lovers. Emily was known to have written many love letters and poems to Susan. Martha attempted to protect both of their images and tell everyone the rumors werent true. It became common knowledge that Emily had some type of very strong feelings for Susan. The following is one of the letters that Emily wrote to Susan: It’s a sorrowful morning Susie–the wind blows and it rains; “into each life some rain must fall,” and I hardly know which falls fastest, the rain without, or within–Oh Susie, I would nestle close to your warm heart, and never hear the wind blow, or the storm beat, again.
Is there any room there for me, darling, and will you “love me more if ever you come home”?–it is enough, dear Susie, I know I shall be satisfied. But what can I do towards you? dearer you cannot be, for I love you so already, that it almost breaks my heart–perhaps I can love you anew, every day of my life, every morning and evening–Oh if you will let me, how happy I shall be!The precious billet, Susie, I am wearing the paper out, reading it over and o’er, but the dear thoughts cant wear out if they try, Thanks to Our Father, Susie! Vinnie and I talked of you all last evening long, and went to sleep mourning for you, and pretty soon I waked up saying “Precious treasure, thou art mine,” and there you were all right, my Susie, and I hardly dared to sleep lest someone steal you away. Never mind the letter, Susie; you have so much to do; just write me every week one line, and let it be, “Emily, I love you,” and I will be satisfied!http://www.sappho.com/poetry/historical/e_*censored*in.htmlAt the age of thirty-one Emily sent some of her poems to a publisher, Thomas Higginson, who liked her poetry a lot. A strong friendship developed.
He gave her a lot of advice, but she never seemed to use any of it. It became evident that she didn’t like the idea of having her works published, she made 40 packets of about twenty poems apiece from 814 poems. She placed these in a box along with close to 300 other poems. Emily died on May 5, 1886 at the age of 56. She had planned her own funeral. It was held at the mansion on Main Street and ended at the family plot near the house on Pleasant Street. At her request, her casket was covered with violets and pine boughs, while she herself was dressed in a new white gown and had a strand of violets placed about her neck.
Before she died, Emily left specific instructions for her sister and a housemaid, Maggie to destroy all the letters she had received and saved. The box of packets and poems was found with these letters, but Emily had not said anything about destroying them. Her sister Lavina was determined to have these published, but Susan kept them for two years before they were released to Higginson. In 1890 and 1891, some of the poems were published. They received a great response, but no more were released until 1955, when the rest of her poems were published. Though she was not religious it is said that many of her poems do reflect religious views. She wrote many of her poems on pain, death, and suffering, although a lot were also written about love, lust, and romance.
A lot of people see her as a hermit who spent much of her life writing and living by herself. She chose her words for her poems in a way that allows the reader to choose the meaning of the poem to them and relate it to their life. She wrote nearly eighteen hundred poems, most staying away from rhyme and punctuation. Emilys poems did not have titles because she never wanted them to be published.
Many of her poems are a little hard to interpret, but after reading this hopefully you will have a little bit better understanding of her life.Bibliography:Works CitedAmerican Authors pgs. 25-48.Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation.
Lebita, Edzen. Emily Dickinson, a few selected poems February 20th,2000http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Lights/4192/dickinson.htmlPresident and fellows of Harvard College, Virtual Emily February 20th, 2000 http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/index1.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1813.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1830.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1840.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1855.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1860.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1874.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1886.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1955.htmlhttp://www.sappho.com/poetry/historical/e_dickin.html