I applaud Emily Dickinson’s choice of art over “real” life although I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. While I cannot presume to know whether she had doubts about this herself or whether she had other problems that prevented her from living “real” life, I can clearly see that her life inside her mind was very rich. By choosing art, Emily Dickinson has left us with a wealth of succinct poems with very important themes. Particularly stunning is “Much Madness is Divinest Sense. ” In that poem, she perfectly recaps the idea of majority rule.If one agrees with the majority, one is sane. If not, one is dangerous and wrong. This is such a short and simple poem that covers so many times in our lives and current events. There are so many examples of the majority doing the wrong thing, like slavery. Another important theme is contained in “If You Were Coming in the Fall. ” This poem discusses the difficulty or utter torture of waiting for some uncertain future. One can wait much more easily if there is some kind of certainty or date at the end. “But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing, It goads me, like the goblin bee, That will not state its sting. “ (Dickinson) The longer one waits, the more painful it becomes. It stings as Dickinson says. However, Dickinson says that waiting without that certainty is nothing but torture. This theme is universal. And yet, another important theme is contained in “Hope is the Thing with Feathers. ” Dickinson gives herself and everyone else the claim that hope is always present in life. Hope is always with us; it “perches” in our souls.
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It never asks anything of the reader just remains in our hearts to keep us warm. “Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me” (Dickinson). Again this is a very profound lesson contained in a brief poem. Who knows what the effect would have been if Dickinson had chosen to have a husband and family or an active social life? The point is that the choice was hers, and she made it. Personally, I relish her choice as I think she gives us so many words to live by. For those who don’t like poetry all that much, she is simple and straightforward and yet, very profound.
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