Emily Dickinson was a New England poet/hermit with a fascination with death and immortality. She wrote over 1000 poems in her lifetime, most of them dark and soul-searching. Why were her poems so dark?
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. . .these were soul-searching ditties about stuff like death and immortality.
So, why was this prim and proper recluse. . .
. . .so obsessed with the Grim Reaper? It might have had something to do with how
often someone she cared about bit the dust.
She lost two close friends. . .
. . .and a cousin before she turned 21. . .
. . .and many more people who were very close to her...
Surrounded by so much death, it's no wonder why it was her main source of inspiration.
Or maybe it was more about shaking things up.
Since Emily was living in the 19th Century in stuffy New England...
...maybe she wanted to rattle some cages. . .
. . . and show people that women weren't just fragile creatures. . .
. . .who could only write about hearts and flowers.
Her poems sure didn't look like anyone else's. . .
. . .with all that random capitalization and funky punctuation. . .
. . .so maybe her subject matter. . .
. . .was just another way to keep people on their toes.
Or maybe she was simply depressed. Being a hermit who shied away from social
situations. . .
. . .we said hermit. . .
. . .could be a major reason Emily caved in to her dark thoughts.
And if you add in the fact that she was taking care of her nasty, sick mother. . .
. . .well, you do the math.
So why was death so prominent in Emily Dickenson's work?
Was it a response to all the deaths in her life....
Or a desire to shock people...
Or could it have been a case of severe depression? Shmoop amongst yourselves.