• Emily was a middle child, born into a highly respected New England family, with a Puritan tradition going way back to the 17th Century.
2. How would you describe Emily’s relationship with her father? (02)
• Emily was perpetually in awe of her father’s accomplishments.
• Some have suspected that Emily’s image of God was fashioned in her father’s image.
3. Characterize Emily Dickinson’s mother. (03)
• Emily’s mother seemed to be perpetually sickly and ultimately an invalid.
4. Where did Emily attend school? (04)
• Emily went to the exclusive Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary at South Hadley, Mass. (A finishing school preparing post-secondary students for college).
5. How have biographers described her school life? (04)
• she was a very popular and outgoing young lady with a full social life. One of her school activities was contributing to a comic column in the school magazine. She also participated in town life, church affairs, dances, parties, and other social gatherings.
6. Describe the process of her withdrawal from society. (05)
• She began to withdraw (somewhat like a Carmelite nun) first refusing to travel much beyond the village, then not much further than the garden, and then not much further than the confines of her house and her room.
7. How would psychologists today diagnose her condition? (05)
• Today, psychologists would probably diagnose her condition as agoraphobia.
8. Identify some of the causes biographers and psychologists have given for Emily’s seclusion. (06)
• Biographers and psychologists have speculated as to the causes of Emily’s seclusion. Besides agoraphobia, some theories include several unhappy love affairs, and acute sensitivity. Emily herself claimed that family loyalty was the chief cause.
9. Identify and briefly describe her friendships. (07)
• Benjamin Newton clerk in law office – introduced her to liberal religious thought –died of TB
• Charles Wadsworth Presbyterian Pastor speculations about love affair
• Higgins writer for Atlantic Monthly- correspondence next 25 years . Recognized her as genius
• Samuel Bowels Springfield Rep Editor most triumphant face out of paradise
• Judge Otis Lord judge of Supreme Court of Mass. Felt a strong respect for him
10. Describe Emily Dickinson’s religious life. (09)
• Emily knew her Bible well, but she rejected traditional beliefs — including original sin, election and hell. At Mount Holyoke, she refused to participate in doctrinal religious experiences.
11. Describe Emily Dickinson’s literary idiosyncrasies. (11)
• She used the dash as her only punctuation.
• • Her phrases were often not legible and consequently misread.
• • She penciled in alternative words or phrases in her text
• • She used provincialisms, mixing levels of diction.
12. How did Dickinson scholar Thomas Johnson organize Dickinson’s poems? (12)
• Johnson attempted a chronological arrangement based on changes in handwriting, which packet came first, and references to contemporary events. Emily didn’t title poems. Johnson simply used the first lines as the titles.
13. What poetic meter does Emily Dickinson use? (14)
• Emily was deeply influenced by the meter found in the hymn books. She evidently was very familiar with her father’s copy of Watts’ Christian Psalmody. She used the meter known as the common meter- (iambic-2 syllables with the accent on the second). In the common meter, the poet alternates 4 accents with 3 accents and the rhyme falls on the 2nd and 4th lines.
14. Describe the different kinds of rhyme Emily uses.
• Exact Rhyme (Dare-care) Using identical vowels and consonants.
• • Eye Rhymes (Some-home) The vowels look alike, but they sound different.
• • Imperfect Rhyme -(Thine-time) The vowels are identical, but the consonants differ.
• • Suspended Rhyme (Thing- along) The