Emily Dickinson's LifeEmily Dickinson was one of the first "American style" writers. I'm writing a short paper on her, but I want to include information that is interesting about her. I would...

Emily Dickinson's Life

Emily Dickinson was one of the first "American style" writers. I'm writing a short paper on her, but I want to include information that is interesting about her. I would like to put anything I can about how she came about her style and/or her themes. What were her hobbys? What events occured in her life that made her such a recluse? Thank you so much for you help!

Expert Answers
lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emily Dickinson is an interesting poet because we know so very little about her life and she didn't actually publish her poetry herself; it was discovered, in large part, after her death and published then. She did try to publish it in her lifetime, but wasn't successful, so she abandoned the idea. Below are a few links that should provide you with more information about her where you may be able to makes connections between her life and her writing.





wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We can speculate about why Dickinson was a recluse, but I don't think anyone truly knows the answer.  Perhaps she suffered from some type of psychiatric disorder like agoraphobia or anxiety.  Perhaps she simply preferred to be alone or was troubled by an event in her life.  Some speculate the Dickinson locked herself away because of her writing.  Perhaps she felt that no one could or would understand the world she created inside her mind.  Indeed many of her poems suggest a strange and wonderful world that others cannot experience.  For example, the poem that begins "a murmur in the trees to note" discusses a wonderful world of nature and birds that the reader will "miss the road" to finding.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dickinson is often seen as an extremely reclusive person who had very little contact with the world beyond her own family's home. Some people see this kind of lifestyle as partly responsible for the often highly introspective nature of her poetry.  You might, for instance, want to compare and contrast her life and poetry with the life and poetry of Walt Whitman, who definitely participated in the larger world in ways she did not.  Good luck!

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, Emily Dickinson is certainly a fascinating character for so many reasons. She had such a narrow, secluded lifestyle and yet writes poetry that shows she experienced such a wealth of human emotion. This is what distinguishes her from other poets and makes her so interesting. Although we cannot be precisely sure what triggered her monastic self-removal from society, many critics believe it was an unsuccessful love for a married man.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

She wasn't a recluse for all of her life;  she had attended college ("for Females") and later had extended stays in Philadelphia and Washington.  She had trouble with her eyes, which might have forced her to become a shut-in; perhaps her recluse was not something she had actually chosen.



litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I know there is a feeling that Emily Dickinson is a lonely recluse. However in general I think of her as solitary and introspective. When I look at poems like "I'm Nobody, Who Are You?" it seems like she was an individualist and wanted to be her own person, and liked being who she was.
kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emily Dickinson had a uniquely intense emotional expressiveness. Although she was indeed a recluse, she did observe from her window and was able to make her observations into exquisitely provocative poetry. An example would be "There's Been a Death in the Opposite House". 

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