Emily Dickison Essay

Submitted By rasglo
Words: 520
Pages: 3

Belonging is a faceted construct which subsumes and paradoxically restricts one’s internal perceptions of belonging and self. It is this sense of identity which is intrinsically defined via an interaction with the world, and thus manifests as a potentially enriching and limiting experience. This notion is explored in Emily Dickinson’s poetry: “This is my letter”, “I had been hungry”, and “ which simultaneously explore humanity’s desire for acceptance and the ability to be enriched by their surroundings. These texts effectively explore the symbiosis between the enriching and limiting experience of belonging drawn from an interaction with the world, and positions the audience to realise the effect of this paradox on one’s perception of belonging and identity.
It is through a conscious effort of interaction with their world that one may potentially shun outsider affiliation in favour of belonging to self. “This is my letter” examines Dickinson’s desires to paradoxically preserve her autonomous sense of identity whilst assimilating into a society that rejects her with its strict social and literary paradigms. Her withdrawal from society is paralleled with her desire for reciprocal understanding from the greater world. The initial line ‘This is my letter to the world” serves as an accusatory declaration, addressing the literary pantheon and the audience with the use of personal pronoun ‘my’ in order to establish her sense of individual identity. Her autonomous identity is further established through the metonymy of “letter” being her views of the world. However the line, ‘That never wrote to me” reflects a self-pitying tone that establishes her limited experience of belonging as a result of her lack of interaction with others due to a lack of acceptance on their part. The poem hence expresses her efforts to find acceptance and her place in society and the literary pantheon, and her refusal to do so.

Comparatively, Dickinson’s “I had been hungry” also demonstrates the acceptance of a preservation of self identity after interaction with the world, where her innate desire to belong socially leads to a deconstruction of individual