Death as a Theme in the Writings of Emily Dickinson Essay

Words: 2963
Pages: 12

Emily Dickinson Paper

Alex Lesnick
May 7, 2002
Period 1

Written word is perhaps the most powerful medium that humans have created to express their thoughts. A person can express a myriad of emotions through pen and paper, ranging from hope and happiness to morbid obsessions and anxiety. Written words, unlike spoken words, are for eternity. Once a thought is written down, anyone can read it, interpret it, ponder it, or question it, until it is destroyed. On the other hand, if a thought is spoken, it exists only for a second and then exists only in the minds of the one who uttered it and those who heard it. Only those who were present can interpret, question, or ponder that thought. If the paper or whatever material a thought
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Emily begins to truly reveal thoughts of death in the line, "None stir the second time." The immediate thought is of death. When one dies, one does not move anymore. Up until this point, various thoughts can be expressed about the true significance of the poem. It is after this line that the theme changes certainly to death. The last three lines of this poem are very revealing. "He longer must (referring to being alive)-- than I --/ For I have but the power to kill,/ Without -- the power to die." The narrator recognizes that she is a mortal being whose body can live only so long on this earth. "He" referring to either time or death, is everlasting. They will exist until the world ends, and they have the power to take all. The narrator recognizes that she has a power to take life too, but it is time or death that has the true power to take life. In another poem, Emily uses religious terms along with death. It is surprising that Emily would use religious words, such as "Christ" or "his Father" because Emily did not accept her father's religious ideas. A prime example of her lack of a strong faith was shown at Mt. Holyoke Seminary, where the president of the school, Mary Lyon, labeled her a "No-hoper" because there was no hope of her accepting and preaching the