Homework Help

Which is true about Emily Dickinson's personal life?  a no interest in romance b. only...

user profile pic

r4rob92 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted January 29, 2012 at 4:18 AM via web

dislike 0 like

Which is true about Emily Dickinson's personal life?


a no interest in romance

b. only romance shehad was imagined in her poetry

c.. jilted by insentive man which caused her pain

d. she fell in love with married men who could not return her affection.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 29, 2012 at 4:52 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Trying to assess the inner life of other people is extremely difficult. While we can try to reconstruct Emily Dickinson’s actions and feeling from her letters and other limited biographical materials, her poetry is an act of the imagination, and we cannot assume any one-to-one correspondence between the poetic narrator and the poet’s biography. Nor can we look behind the biographical evidence to determine her “real” feelings, as we do not have the ability to read minds even of our contemporaries, much less those long dead.

We know little of her biography. She was single her entire life. She did have a few older male mentors to whom she wrote letters that may be read as love letters, but it is difficult to assess whether the terms are romantic love in the 20th century sense or the sort of intense friendship one finds in the relationship of Hallam and Tennyson. The best answer is probably (1) that we do not know and (2) that trying to read the little we do know of her relationship history into her poetry does not improve our understanding of the poems, as the poetic narrator is not purely biographical.


Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes