Emily Dickinson's Use of Language Techniques

Topics: Poetry, Sound, Stanza Pages: 2 (625 words) Published: June 22, 2008
Emily Dickinson, a female poet from Amherst, Massachusetts, was born in the 19th century. But because of the status of women at the time, the originality in her poems were seen as unusual and did not get the praise it should’ve gotten or even had a chance to be seen for its ingenious and original use of language techniques.

What is most commonly seen in Dickinson’s work is the use of the dash. She has used the dash in many cases for many different and appropriate reasons. A lot of the time the dash is used to create stillness or for us to feel what it’s like to be and see in the personas view. Like in the first line of ‘I heard a Fly buzz when I died’, the dashes create a stillness that would be felt in the room of the vigil. Also, in the third stanza of the poem ‘Because I could not stop for Death --’, the dashes are used to create a stillness for the persona and the readers to feel like they stop to view the scenery (“We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain --”). Again, this method is used in the poem ‘A Bird came down the Walk --’. In the first line, the dashes create a pause or stillness at the end of the line to show that the persona is watching the bird and all of its movements. Dickinson also uses the dashes to emphasise an important sound in the poem, like in ‘I felt a Funeral, in my Brain’. She uses the dashes in between the words “treading” and “beating” to get the idea of the repetitive beating sound into our heads and how relative it is to the text.

In Dickinson’s work, she also has very unique uses of onomatopoeia which emphasises meanings to the poems. A good example of this is in the poem ‘A Bird came down the Walk’. In the last stanza, she is trying to get across that the flight of the bird is much more graceful and softer than a boat rowing in the ocean. So instead of using the word “splashless”, she uses the word “plashless” because it sounds softer, and so the soft sound can relate to the birds peaceful flight better. She also emphasises a...
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