Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst Massachusetts.
She hada younger sister named Lavina and an older brother named Austin. Her motherEmily Norcross Dickinson, was largely dependent on her family and was seen byEmily as a bad mother. Her father was lawyer, Congressman, and the Treasurer forAmherst College. Emilys mother and father didnt get along very well, butunlike her mother Emily loved and admired her father. Emilys family lived aquiet secure life. They rarely shared their problems with one another so Emilyhad plenty of privacy for writing.
During her childhood, Emily and her familyattended The First Congregational Church on every Sunday. Emily did not likegoing to church because she didn’t think of herself as being very religious. Sherefused to believe that Heaven was a better place than Earth and eventuallyrebelled from the church. Emily saw herself as a woman who had her own way ofthinking, a way of thinking shaped neither by the church or society. By the timeshe was twelve, her family moved to a house on Pleasant Street where they livedfrom 1840 to 1855. Emily was already writing letters, but composed most of herpoetry in this home. Emily only left home to attend Mount Holyoke FemaleSeminary for two semesters. She impressed her teachers with her “courage anddirectness” in her poetry.
They felt her writing was very good. At the age oftwenty-one, Emily and her family moved to the “Dickinson Homestead” on MainStreet. This move was very difficult for Emily. This was difficult for Emilybecause she became very attached to her old house. They now lived next door toher brother Austin and his wife Susan and their daughter Martha. Emily and Susanbecame so close that many people believe they may have been lovers.
Emily wasknown to have written many love letters and poems to Susan. Martha attempted toprotect both of their images and tell everyone the rumors werent true. Itbecame common knowledge that Emily had some type of very strong feelings forSusan. The following is one of the letters that Emily wrote to Susan: “It’s asorrowful morning Susie–the wind blows and it rains; “into each life somerain 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 thewind 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, dearSusie, I know I shall be satisfied. But what can I do towards you? dearer youcannot be, for I love you so already, that it almost breaks my heart–perhaps Ican love you anew, every day of my life, every morning and evening–Oh if youwill let me, how happy I shall be! The precious billet, Susie, I am wearing thepaper out, reading it over and o’er, but the dear thoughts cant wear out if theytry, Thanks to Our Father, Susie! Vinnie and I talked of you all last eveninglong, 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, mySusie, and I hardly dared to sleep lest someone steal you away.
Never mind theletter, Susie; you have so much to do; just write me every week one line, andlet it be, “Emily, I love you,” and I will be satisfied! Your own,Emily” http://www.sappho.com/poetry/historical/e_*censored*in.html At the ageof thirty-one Emily sent some of her poems to a publisher, Thomas Higginson, wholiked her poetry a lot. A strong friendship developed. He gave her a lot ofadvice, but she never seemed to use any of it.
It became evident that she didn’tlike the idea of having her works published, she made 40 packets of about twentypoems apiece from 814 poems. She placed these in a box along with close to 300other poems. Emily died on May 5, 1886 at the age of 56. She had planned her ownfuneral. It was held at the mansion on Main Street and ended at the family plotnear the house on Pleasant Street. At her request, her casket was covered withviolets and pine boughs, while she herself was dressed in a new white gown andhad a strand of violets placed about her neck.
Before she died, Emily leftspecific instructions for her sister and a housemaid, Maggie to destroy all theletters she had received and saved. The box of packets and poems was found withthese letters, but Emily had not said anything about destroying them. Her sisterLavina was determined to have these published, but Susan kept them for two yearsbefore they were released to Higginson.
In 1890 and 1891, some of the poems werepublished. 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 issaid that many of her poems do reflect religious views. She wrote many of herpoems on pain, death, and suffering, although a lot were also written aboutlove, lust, and romance. A lot of people see her as a hermit who spent much ofher life writing and living by herself.
She chose her words for her poems in away that allows the reader to choose the meaning of the poem to them and relateit to their life. She wrote nearly eighteen hundred poems, most staying awayfrom rhyme and punctuation. Emilys poems did not have titles because shenever wanted them to be published.
Many of her poems are a little hard tointerpret, but after reading this hopefully you will have a little bit betterunderstanding of her life.BibliographyAmerican Authors pgs. 25-48. “Emily Elizabeth Dickinson,” MicrosoftEncarta Encyclopedia 99. Microsoft Corporation.
Lebita, Edzen. “EmilyDickinson, a few selected poems” February 20th,2000 http://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.html http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1813.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1830.html http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1840.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1855.html http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1860.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1874.html http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1886.htmlhttp://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/emilypg/1955.html http://www.sappho.com/poetry/historical/e_dickin.html