Emily grew up with a privileged childhood. She was the eldest daughter of Edward Dickinson, a successful lawyer, member of congress, and for many years treasurer of Amherst College. Her father gave here the time, and literary education, as well as confidence to try her hand at free verse. Emily's mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson, was a submissive, timid housewife dedicated to her husband, children, and household chores. The Dickinson's only son, William Austin, also a lawyer, succeeded his father as treasurer of the college. Their youngest child, Lavina, was the chief housekeeper and, like her sister, Emily, remained a home, unmarried, all her life. A sixth member who was added to the family in 1856 was Susan Gilbert, a schoolmate of Emily's, who married Austin and moved into the house next door the Dickinson home which they called Homestead. Emily and Susan were very close friends and confidantes, until Susan and Austin's marriage. It was at this time that Susan stopped responding to the notes and poems that were often exchanged between the two ( ). Emily's letters to Susan have contained lines that have proved to... [continues]
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