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in form tone Emily the Fallen Rose

Emily Dickinson's Poetry
Essay written by Anonymous

Emily Dickinson was raised in a traditional New England home in the mid 1800's. Her father along with the rest of the family had become Christians and she alone decided to rebel against that and reject the Church. She like many of her contemporaries had rejected the traditional views in life and adopted the new transcendental outlook.

Massachusetts, the state where Emily was born and raised in, before the transcendental period was the epicenter of religious practice. Founded by the puritans, the feeling of the avenging had never left the people. After all of the "Great Awakenings" and religious revivals the people of New England began to question the old ways. What used to be the focal point of all lives was now under speculation and often doubted. People began to search for new meanings in life. People like Emerson and Thoreau believed that answers lie in the individual. Emerson set the tone for the era when he said, "Whoso would be a [hu]man, must be a non-conformist." Emily Dickinson believed and practiced this philosophy.

When she was young she was brought up by a stern and austere father. In her childhood she was shy and already different from the others. Like all the Dickinson children, male or female, Emily was sent for formal education in Amherst Academy. After attending Amherst Academy with conscientious thinkers such as Helen Hunt Jackson, and after reading many of Emerson's essays, she began to develop into a free willed person. Many of her friends had converted to Christianity, her family was also putting enormous amount of pressure for her to convert. No longer the submissive youngster she would not bend her will on such issues as religion, literature and personal associations.

She maintained a correspondence with Rev. Charles Wadsworth over a substantial period of time. Even though she rejected the Church as a entity she never did reject or accept God. Wadsworth appealed to her because he had an incredibly powerful mind and deep emotions. When he left the East in 1861 Emily was scarred and expressed her deep sorrow in three successive poems in the following years. They were never romantically involved but their relationship was apparently so profound that Emily's feelings for him she sealed herself from the outside world.


Her life became filled with gloom and despair until she met Judge Otis P. Lord late in her life. Realizing that they were well into their lives they never were married. When Lord passed away Emily's health condition which has been hindered since childhood worsened.

In Emily's life the most important things to her were love, religion, individuality and nature. When discussing these themes she followed her lifestyle and broke away from traditional forms of writing and wrote with an intense energy and complexity never seen before and rarely seen today. She was a rarity not only because of her poetry but because she was one of the first female pioneers into the field of poetry.

Emily often speaks of love in her poems, but she did it in such a way that would make people not want to fall in love. She writes of parting, separation and loss. This is supported by the experiences she felt with Wadsworth and Otis P. Lord.
Not with a club the heart is broken,
nor with a stone;
A whip so small you could not see it,
I've known

This seems to be an actual account of the emotions she experienced during her relationship with Otis Lord.

Individuality played a pervasive role in her life as a result of her bout with separation. Emily did not conform to society. She did not believe it was society's place to dictate to her how she should lead her life. Her poems reflect this sense of rebellion and revolution against tradition.
From all the jails the boys and girls
Ecstatically leap,-
Beloved, only afternoon
That prison doesn't keep.

In this poem Emily shows her feelings towards formalized schooling. Being a product of reputable college one would think that she would be in favor of this. But as her beliefs in transcendentalism grew so did her belief in individuality.

Emily also went against the Church which was an extreme rarity of the time. Similar to ... more

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Hans Christian Andersen

In the course Y2k and The End of The World, we've studied apocalyptic themes, eschatology, and for some, teleology. Apocalypse, which is to unveil or reveal, eschatology, which is a concept of the end, and teleology, the end or purpose to which we are drawn, are all themes used in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. The book is apocalyptic in that it revolves around dystopian ideals. Atwood creates a world in which worst-case scenarios take control and optimistic viewpoints and positive attitudes disappear. It has been said about this book that Atwood's writing echoes numerous motifs and literary devices, such as in Huxley's creation of a drug-calmed society, her characters awaiting execution seem tranquilized by pills or shots.

      Atwood's Book has also been compared to other novels like it, such as Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, and the most obvious, Orwell's 1984. These books have many things in common, including the perversion of science and technology as a major determinant of society's function and control. Like most dystopian novels, The Handmaid's Tale includes the oppression of society, mainly women in this example, the prevention of advancement of thought and intelligence, and an overwhelming sense of government involvement and interference.

      The Apocalyptic themes and situations found in Atwood's fictional city of Gilead focus around the mistreatment of all females. Women in this city, set 200 years in the future, have no rights, and get little respect. The rule by way of theocracy in Gilead also adds to the sense of regression and hopelessness in the future. The way babies are brought into the world, only through pregnant handmaids, the idea of a black market for things considered luxuries and privileges all add to the fact that society in this novel is in a desperate state of disrepair.

      Other Apocalyptic themes found in the book can be compared to sections of the bible, particularly the Old Testament. The Handmaid's Tale has many elements of social decline written into its plot. From the way women are mistreated to the way corruption and evil have infiltrated the government and army, to the way the black market plays a key role in many people's lives causing a majority of society to become criminals makes it clear how social decline plays a key role in the book. There is also a strong sense of moral decline in the book. If a person, regardless of sex, doesn't fit into the tight pattern of role expectation, he or she is eliminated, exiled from Gilead, and left for dead. Also, God plays virtually no part in this soulless, sterile theocracy. The Commander locks away the family bible and the only other worship takes place through a computerized prayer service which people order through the phone. The society of Gilead also attempts to weed out all non-whites, even though it is ultimately unsuccessful, while at the same time, it successfully prevents women from gaining any individual identity.

    As you can see, many apocalyptic themes are present in the novel. Planned pregnancy of surrogate mothers, an oppressive government, and an absence of God all contribute to the themes inherent in the story. Although some have called the novel a warning about the future, others claim it is a forecast, the fact still remains that characters in the book have less respect for the officials in society, less respect for the religions that now run the government, and less respect for themselves making the future into a terrible, terrible place.

    The Handmaid's Tale is set in the futuristic Republic of Gilead. Sometime in the future, conservative Christians take control of the United States and establish a dictatorship. Most women in Gilead are infertile after repeated exposure to pesticides, nuclear waste, or leakage from chemical weapons. The few fertile women are taken to camps and trained to be handmaidens, birth mothers for the upper class. Infertile lower-class women are sent either to clean up toxic waste or to become "Marthas", which are house servants. No women in the Republic are permitted to be openly sexual; sex is for reproduction only. The government declares this a feminist improvement on the sexual politics of today when women are seen as sex objects.

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