Analysis of Emily Dickinson 1

Topics: Mount Holyoke College, Emily Dickinson, Amherst, Massachusetts Pages: 2 (526 words) Published: February 1, 2011
Emily Dickinson is one of America’s most recognized female poets of the nineteenth century. Dickinson’s unique style of writing is what set her apart from most poets of her time. Her compressed and forceful wording made it possible for her to place more meaning into fewer words; this is seen in Dickinson’s poem, “Much Madness is Divinest Sense.” At first glance, Dickinson’s poem seems misleadingly short and simple with only eight lines and an obvious theme of madness versus sanity; however, on closer analysis the poem stands open to several interpretations. One explanation is that “Much Madness is Divinest Sense” has an underlying theme of rebellion. To understand Dickinson’s poem, “Much Madness is Divinest Sense,” we must first put both her life and her era in context with her writing. Dickinson spent almost all her life in her birthplace, Amherst, Massachusetts. She was born in 1830, the middle child of Edward Dickinson, a prominent lawyer who was active in civic affairs, and who also had a reputation as a dictatorial husband and a tyrannical father. Dickinson once wrote that when her father spoke, her mother, "Trembled, obeyed, and was silent." Dickinson’s reading material was censored; much of her knowledge of the outside world came from books that were slipped into the house by her older brother. When she was seventeen, Dickinson was sent to South Hadley Female Academy, latter called Mount Holyoke College. She did not adjust to the strict religious atmosphere and returned home within the year. After that, Dickinson gradually began to withdraw from social activities and eventually stopped leaving her home at all, remaining in her father’s house as a recluse until her death in 1886. Nonetheless, it is believed that Dickinson kept in contact through letters with a circle of friends and extended family. It is guessed that “Much Madness is Divinest Sense” was written in 1862, which is considered to be during her creative peak period from 1858-1862. This...
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