Belonging: Emily Dickinson

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Belonging is an inherent part of the human condition. It enables an individual to gain a sense of connection within themselves and to the external world. In essence, to belong is to be human. These ideas can be explored through the poetry if Emily Dickinson. In her poem, “this is my letter to the world,” Dickinson demonstrates the fundamental desire for belonging through a letter which appeals to her society for acceptance. This desire can similarly be seen through her poem “I had been hungry all the years,” in which Dickinson uses another human experience, hunger, to represent her insatiable need for belonging. The human desire for belonging can be nurtured or inhibited by an individual’s society. In her poem, “this is my letter to the world,” Dickinson not only reveals her desire to belong, but also the way that society has prevented her from achieving this. Dickinson accomplishes this effectively as she reflects her feelings through a “letter to the world.” Dickinson attempts to internalise the views of her society and, upon failing to do so, retreats further within herself where she finds a sense of belonging. The line “The simple news that Nature told, with tender majesty,” demonstrates Dickinson’s reverence for nature and the hope that people will be able to hear her message through it, which is personified as the mediator between Dickinson and her society. Within this poem, it is clear that Dickinson has a closer affinity to nature than she does with society. It is through nature that she is able to gain a sense of belonging, which is fundamental for human growth and development. Dickinson's messages are complex and profound but usually conveyed in simple language, which tends to create an enigmatic effect. In this poem, Dickinson uses metonymy to represent her society as “hands I cannot see.” This demonstrates her alienation with society and her need to simplify them into something she is able to comprehend. The last line makes a final appeal to...
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