Emily Dickinson Belonging Essay Questions

Presentation on theme: "Paper 1 Section III Belonging and the poetry of Emily Dickinson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Paper 1 Section III Belonging and the poetry of Emily Dickinson

2 Overview In this section of the exam you will be writing about the prescribed poems of Emily Dickinson and at least TWO related texts of your own choosing. You MUST be familiar with all of the poems set for study. Whilst it is unlikely that you will be given a question about a specific poem you should be prepared for this possibility. Having a sound knowledge of all of the poems also allows you to be prepared to address a wider range of questions.

3 The poems set for study are: -This is my letter to the world -I had been hungry all the years -I died for beauty but was scarce -I gave myself to him -A narrow fellow in the grass -A word dropped careless on a page -What mystery pervades a well -The saddest noise, the sweetest noise

4 Paper 1 Section III is marked out of 15 You MUST develop a THESIS or an argument about which aspect of belonging is explored in Dickinson’s poetry and HOW this concept is explored. You should have a central argument about the concept of belonging. Your thesis should also connect your related texts to the concepts of belonging explored in the poems. You MUST be able to make conceptual links between the texts. It is acceptable if some elements are conceptually similar and other elements conceptually different. This is comparing and contrasting.

5 Examine the concepts of belonging explored in your related texts carefully. What ideas about belonging are common to the texts? What ideas are different? Your thesis must be supported by an ANALYSIS of the texts. Avoid ‘retelling’ or describing your related texts. ANALYSE what the texts say about belonging and HOW they say it.

6 The poetry of Emily Dickinson

7 A great deal of critical writing about Dickinson focuses on biographical detail, especially those aspects of her life that many find strange. It is true that Dickinson is considered both now, and by her contemporaries, as quite ‘odd’. She spent much of her life as a recluse, who obviously found it increasingly difficult to leave her home. In a society that was uniformly of the Christian mainstream, Dickinson had a lifelong crisis of religious conviction. In a time when marriage and childbirth were considered basic expectations of a women’s role, Dickinson remained unmarried and childless.

8 While Dickinson’s biography is interesting in itself, it SHOULD NOT form the basis of your study of her poetry. Your focus for the Area of Study should be the ideas about belonging contained in Dickinson’s poetry and how these ideas are communicated in her poems.

9 SO : -Know the poems. You should be able to quote them accurately. -Know what aspect of belonging is being dealt with in each poem. Use those poems that have the most to say about the aspect of belonging being addressed in the essay question. -Know HOW the poem explores ideas about belonging. This means you MUST revise the key language and poetic techniques used by Dickinson. -Know the EFFECT of language and poetic techniques in relation to the poem’s exploration of belonging.

10 Keep in mind the PURPOSE of Dickinson’s poetry. Dickinson’s major purpose in life seems to have been a dedication to her poetry. Feeling a sense of estrangement from the world around her, she found contentment, a sense of belonging, in her art. Poetry became Dickinson’s means of exploring real and imaginative worlds, conveying feelings, whether they be feelings of despair, hopelessness, isolation or passion and joy. Dickinson used her poetry to define the gamut of human experiences in all aspects, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.

11 Connecting the poems to Belonging Alienation and Estrangement: -Dickinson’s poetry explores what it means ‘not to belong’. -Lived as a recluse, at odds with the extreme Puritan, late Victorian ideologies that her immediate society lived by. -Did not meet social expectations of women to be wives and mothers instead she dedicated her life to writing poetry. -Her creative talents and ‘need to write to survive’ produced feelings of alienation and estrangement.

12 Isolation: -Self imposed isolation due to a sense that she did not belonging or fit in. -Dickinson’s isolation did not mean that she did not have a deep engagement with her world. This engagement took the form of poetry and extensive letter writing. -Poems present us with speakers/persona who ultimately turn their backs on the human world in favour of a life of isolation/loneliness or a tentative connection with nature. -Isolation is at times a source of despair yet it also allows the creation of tension that marks all her poems and gives each piece its intensity. Isolation is seen as necessary to the creation of poetry. -Whether isolation is a source of despair or contemplation, it is always a clear minded choice as the speaker searches for some greater ‘truth’ or sense of self. -For Dickinson part of the ‘greater truth’ was a heightened awareness of emotional states.

13 Rejection and denial: - Through out the poems we see evidence of the speaker either facing rejection from the world or engaging in the act of rejection. -Dickinson attempts to justify her rejection of the world in her poems. She sought and found belonging in herself and her art which she believed was part of a ‘greater truth’. -Denial of human contact and pleasures was seen as necessary to drawing of meaning from intense emotional states. -Rejected her ascribed social role as wife and mother. -Dismissed the fundamental teachings of her Calvinist upbringing. -Faced rejection from possible lovers -Faced early rejection from literary circles who would not consider publishing her work unless she altered its style to suit popular tastes.

14 Sacrifice and Containment: -Choosing not to belong, to live the life of a recluse in order to create, to find one’s self, to search for ‘truth’, necessarily involved sacrificing the opportunity to establish relationships with others and participate in the activities of society. -Any desire to make contact with the outside world was contained within her poetry. -Sacrifice, denial and the paradoxical emotions that this generated became the substance of Dickinson’s work.

15 Longing and desire for inclusion: -There is a paradox that can be found at the heart of a number of Dickinson’s poems. It comes from a longing for inclusion but an ultimate denial of this desire. -Dickinson ‘lived out’ Keat’s ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’. For her desire, the extremes of the mind and the sensations of the soul, were the essence of experience. Desires need to be grasped and understood. This was the source of creation, the purpose of her poetry. In order for this to happen the desire itself must never be satisfied. -To accept and become a part of society, Dickinson risked loosing the opportunity to explore her inner self. Being ‘a part of the world’ necessarily involves prioritizing the demands of daily life, work, family, relationships with others.

16 Identity and ‘otherness’: -Lived out a life of ‘otherness’. -Her sense of ‘otherness’ is communicated through the content of her poems. -Her unusual poetic style makes her verse quickly identifiable. -Explores identity through an examination of intense emotion and psychological states. -Contemplates how the formation of one’s identity may necessarily require a separation from the world especially when one discovers that this identity is unique. -Dickinson is not willing to sacrifice her unique identity in order to belong.

17 Nature as a source of inspiration: -Felt a communion, a connection or sense of belonging within the natural world, it was here that she might also be able to explore ideas of ‘truth’. -Attitudes to nature changes according to her mood, nature is most often depicted positively. The poetry suggests a greater feeling of contentment, peace and belonging in nature that it does in other contexts. HOWEVER, there is still a tension between feeling both connected to, and at a distance, from nature.

18 Language and Poetic Techniques When you are writing about the techniques used by Dickinson in her poetry, you should always consider these in terms of the Area of Study. How does her writing convey ideas about belonging? How does Dickinson use her poetry to communicate concepts of belonging to the reader? The following features are particularly important:

19 Choice of Language The careful and deliberate choice of language and particular words is a major feature of Dickinson’s style. Her style is not elaborate or ornate and contains no complex allusions to literature, contemporary events or history. As she wished to distil the essence of meaning, she chooses words for their connotations. These connotations are an essential element in the way that the poems communicate meaning.

20 Economy of Style As important as word selectivity is exclusion. Dickinson often leaves out words she feels are unimportant or that will cloud the essential meaning of the poem. There is a conscious attempt to use as few words as possible and to eliminate all language that is deemed inessential. While this makes for economy of style, it can also make the poems difficult to read.

21 Punctuation In a similar vein, Dickinson wrote with a disregard for the rules of grammar and punctuation. She uses capital letters and hyphens to achieve a particular purpose rather than to conform to the rules of ‘correct usage’. This aspect of her style makes her appear a very ‘modern’ poet when compared to her contemporaries.

22 Personification Personification is frequently used by Dickinson, not only for natural objects but also for concepts such as love and death. This personification often forms the basis of the development of thought that is explored in an individual poem.

23 The choice of the Quatrain All most all of Dickinson’s poetry is based on quatrains that have alternate lines of eight and six syllables. This verse form and metre is based on English hymns. The musical quality of this has allowed the poetry to be set to music by composers.

24 The Persona Dickinson’s lyric poetry includes a single persona in each of the poems. The poems tend to concentrate on the development of a central idea.

25 The use of half-rhyme Dickinson’s use of half-rhyme, while common in modern poetry, was quite revolutionary for her time. Dickinson does make use of true rhyme as well as sight rhyme, where words do not rhyme but look similar when printed on the page, such as prove/love.

+ All Emily Dickinson Essays:

  • Belonging
  • The Language of Protest in Shakespeare, Blake, Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, and Rich: Exterior vs. Interior Life
  • An Annotation of Emily Dickinson's I Taste A Liquor Never Brewed
  • Emily Bronte's Remembrance and thomas Hardy's The Darkling Thrush
  • A Rose For Emily - In Memory Of Emily Grierson
  • Leadership of Anna Elizabeth Dickinson
  • Dickinson and Her Religion
  • Emily Dickinson's God
  • A Rose for Emily
  • A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
  • Death in Auden’s Funeral Blues, Forche’s Memory of Elena, and Dickinson’s Last Night that She lived
  • Setting Analysis and Symbolism of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Compare-Contrast Critical Analysis Essay
  • A Rose for Emily
  • Emily Grierson’s Need For Control in Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily
  • Mla Quiz
  • Importance of Human Interaction in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily
  • An Explication of Emily Dickinson's Loaded Gun
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Women Authors of the 19th Century
  • Oh Who Will Protect Poor Emily?
  • William Faulkner's 'A Rose for Emily': An Analysis
  • Emily Dickinson's Success Is Counted Sweetest Criticism
  • A Rose for Emily
  • Because I could not stop for Death, by Emily Dickinson
  • Because I Could Not Stop for Death Analysis
  • Comparison of Women's Struggles in Use by Alice Walker and A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
  • Emily Dickenson's Poems
  • The Civil War
  • Emily Dickinson's Poetry About Death
  • Billy Collins
  • Emily, Murphy, Nellie McClung, and Agnes Macphail Stand for Women's Equality
  • Two Great Short Stories Read by Many are A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner and The Necklace by Guy De Maupassan
  • An Analysis of Dickinson’s I Felt a Funeral in My Brain
  • Alive, Miss Emily in A Rose for Emily by
  • A Rose for Emily
  • A Rose for Emily: Why Ms. Emily Did Not Kill Homer Barron
  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find and A Rose for Emily Analysis
  • Gothic Elements of Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte
  • The Significance of the Townspeople and Emily's Father in A Rose for Emily
  • Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson Compare and Contrast
  • The Nature of Death in Emily Dickinson's Poems
  • Analysis of Emily Dickinson's The Bustle in a House
  • Emily Character Analysis of A Rose for Emily
  • Symbolism of Death Used in Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson and “Home Burial by Robert Frost
  • A Narrow Fellow in the Grass - 1
  • "A Rose for Emily": Insanity, Murder and Death
  • Character Analysis of Emily Grierson
  • Emily Killing Homer: A Crime of Passion or an Act of a Frightened Girl
  • Never Give up on Love in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman: Dissimilar Poets Establish Unique Writing Style
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • How to Accept Death in The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • The Importance of Ghosts In Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights
  • A Rose for Emily and The Jilting of Granny Weatherall the Share theTheme of Jilting
  • A Rose for Emily - Biography William Faulkner
  • We Grow Accustomed to the Dark...
  • Analysis of Emily Bronte´s Wuthering Heights
  • A Rose of Death in A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
  • Effective Literary Elements in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights
  • A Rose For Emily
  • A Withering Rose inWilliam Faulkner’s, A Rose For Emily
  • Analyzing the Elements of Poetry
  • Emily Dickinson's Fascicle 17
  • The Relation of Evil and Love in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
  • Confronting Death in Poetry
  • Early Criticisms Of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Essay on Escape in A Rose For Emily and Yellow Wallpaper
  • The Mystery of the Rose and the Narrator in A Rose for Emily by Faulkner
  • Analysis of A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner and The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • I Stand Here Ironing: Character Analysis of Emily
  • Dickinson vs Whitman
  • Symbolism of Houses in A Doll's House and A Rose For Emily
  • Identity and Ideology Beyond Death in Emily Dickinson's Poem “I Died for Beauty”
  • William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily
  • Compare and Contrast “the Flowers” and “a Rose for Emily”
  • Dickinson Technologies
  • Defining Modernism


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