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Why is the poetry of Emily Dickinson so appealing and thought provoking? (With...

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dancerz11850 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:23 AM via web

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Why is the poetry of Emily Dickinson so appealing and thought provoking?

(With reference to "Hope is a thing with feathers","A narrow fellow in the grass","I felt a funeral in my brain","I heard a fly buzz when I died" and "A Bird came down the walk"

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 26, 2013 at 11:31 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the reasons why Dickinson's poetry is so thought provoking is because her poetry shows a sincere interest in reflecting about the individual and their place in the world.  Dickinson's poetry speaks to the condition in which people can connect.  She speaks about realities that prompt reflection in everyone because the situations in her poetry are ones in which there only profound thoughts and no distinct answers.  

In "I heard a Fly buzz- when I died," the poem's focus the potentially experience in death. This is thought provoking because death is a topic that impacts all, and yet so little is known about it.  What the fly moves towards is a realm in which there are only questions, akin to the experience of death.  What happens to the body and what happens to the soul are conditions in which there are no answers.  The fact that Dickinson takes a state of being in which there are no certainties is one of the reasons why her poetry is so thought provoking.  She is able to excite the sensibilities of thought in her addressing of topics that possess only thoughts.

In "I Felt a Funeral, in my Brain," the topic is mental breakdown.  This is yet another topic in which little is absolute and known.  The thought provoking topic of sanity and insanity is why Dickinson's poem incorporates so much thought.  The uncertainty that is present in Dickinson's subject area is part of the appeal in her poem.  There is nothing certain this realm.  With such ambiguity and doubt, Dickinson's poem lends itself to thought provoking reflection.  In choosing topics that are not absolute but rather far from it, Dickinson's poetry is thought provoking.

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