Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Is there something wrong with Emily Dickinson?

Okay, there must be something wrong with me if I am starting to "get" Emily Dickinson, I have never understood her, in Jr. High, HighSchool, anything, but now, at 26! I think I am starting to get her, and that scares me! We were discussing her poems in class, and I started to sickeningly realize, that, I feel like I have something in common with her!

Reading more of her poems, there seems alomst a sense of fear, of the unknown or the unexperienced maybe. I was thinking about that poem, Wild Nights, its like she is expressing a longing for something she has never experienced, and yet she wishes to stay moored, or stay put in Eden, in a state of inexperience or innocence maybe, and yet the"Sea," and its wildness, adventure, unknown territory of love/sex/whatever it maybe, yet unexperienced, frightens her as well as calls to her. In (305), Dickinson talks about despair and fear, and it seems to me, with the last part about the mind being smooth, and contented like the eyes on a bust, that that smoothness is almost/could be a paralyzation from the fear, she is as unmoveable as a bust, and the idea of the lack of contentetment/frustration from not beng able to see, and it knowing it cannot see, could be that she is paralyzed by her fear, her fear and despair keep her imobline, and outside of life. And she cannot get over maybe whatever her drawbacks/fobias are that keep her from living life. (609) talks about the fear of leaving, and then coming back and finding that things had changed or what not, but she talks about, "I laughed a crumbling Laugh That I could fear a Door Who Consternation compassed And never winced before." The door maybe showing how she has channeled her fear, and personified it in certain images, and that just that, well, not maybe that she is this huge recluse that cannot leave her house, but that maybe leaving her house and the door ect. represent her fear of living life, living the unknown. Who knows.

Also, seems like she is almost waiting for something to happen all of the time, waiting for her fate, her destiny, waiting for a big experience to happen, to come and rescue her, be it "noon" or some man, or something, but it seems almost like her future is dependent on someone coming and resucing her and taking her out of her circumstances, kind of like Hepzibah, in The House of the Seven Gables, who is waiting for a rich relative to come and take her away, and/or give her wealth ect., totally an illusion, ~very romantic idea~ but this idea that someone has to be an agent for her change/destiny, vs. trying to make it yourself.

Poems cited:

Wild Nights -- Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futine -- the Winds --
To a Heart in port --
Done with the Compass --
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor -- Tonight --
In Thee!


The difference between Despair
And Fear -- is like the One
Between the instant of a Wreck --
ANd when the Wreck has been --

The Mind is smooth -- no Motion --
Contented as the Eye
Upon the Forehead of a Bust --
That knows -- it cannot see --

c. 1862

c. 1861


Panini said...

Wow! I'm so glad you got a post! And what a first post! My oh my! :-)

I've always hated Emily D. I have a book of her poetry and I found it completely disappointing. I thought she had absolutely no creativity and imagery...which I'm a sucker for. (longfellow being my favorite) But maybe I better take a 2nd look.

SJ said...

I loved Emily as a young teen. I thought I could be her and feverishly wrote many, many dramatic poems about my feelings and the weather and being a bird. Then I found out she was a recluse who would only wear white and reportedly went crazy.

Sherpa said...

I haven't really read Emily since High School, but i remember liking some of her stuff.....and trying not to hum "yellow rose of texas"