Is it fair to say that "The Soul selects her own Society—" is a reflection of Dickinson's own personality?

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While it's always tempting to read autobiographical elements into a piece of written work, sometimes it can lead to a distorted understanding. So it's always best to proceed with caution in such cases. That said, there are few more autobiographical poets in the English language than Emily Dickinson , who...

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While it's always tempting to read autobiographical elements into a piece of written work, sometimes it can lead to a distorted understanding. So it's always best to proceed with caution in such cases. That said, there are few more autobiographical poets in the English language than Emily Dickinson, who put so many elements of her own life into her extraordinary body of work.

"The Soul Selects Her Own Society" is a prime example of this. Dickinson was something of a recluse, who consciously shut herself away from the outside world. Numerous anecdotes abound of her social isolation. As well as speaking to visitors through doors, she'd also lower baskets of treats to children from her window. She even listened to her father's funeral from the privacy of her bedroom.

It seems fair to say, then, that this poem, which affirms the sacred right of the individual to choose his or her own companions, is an accurate reflection of its author's eccentric personality. The speaker is so self-enclosed that she'd refuse to admit anyone from outside her charmed circle of friends into her presence. Even if a mighty Emperor should turn up, he would not gain admittance. He'd have to make do with kneeling down on a mat.

From what we know of Emily Dickinson's life and personality, this is by no means an exaggerated sentiment. If a real-life Emperor had rocked up at her house in Amherst, then it's almost certain that he, too, would not have been allowed inside.

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The original question has been edited to be only one question.  I think that with a complex thinker like Dickinson, there might be some natural challenge in being able to dogmatically interpret each poem from her voluminous workload as being an exact representation of her own being.  It seems that Dickinson was too complex a human being, as most human beings are, to be so easily one dimensional.  Naturally, I think that some part of her was able to be imprinted on her work.  In this case, it does make sense to see some aspect of Dickinson's life evident in this particular poem.  Certainly, the idea of a soul being selective in befriending or taking in specific individuals is something that would be applicable to Dickinson.  Especially so in her largest period of producing work, Dickinson did not submerge herself in people and around individuals.  Perhaps what we would consider to be reclusive and a stance that sought to isolate herself from society, Dickinson's life parallels the idea that there is selection of few with then   a "shut door" to more interaction with individuals.  It would make sense that others might wish to have been included in this small section of individuals, but Dickinson herself was extremely selective about human company, similar to the sentiments arising from the poem.  There can be some strong parallels between the basis of the poem and Dickinson's own life, but I still believe that it might not be the most accurate to automatically presume that all of a poet's work is completely reflective of their own life.  This is particularly so with a thinker like Dickinson.

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