The Dickinson family was a prominent, well-to-do family from Amherst, Massachusetts. By the time that Emily and her siblings were born, they were the fourth generation of the Dickinson family in Amherst. Her grandfather, Samuel Fowler Dickinson helped to found Amherst College. They were a strict, religious, orthodox Calvinist family, and aspect of life that would later come to have an impact on the poetry of Emily Dickinson (Online Lit).
As a child, Emily Dickinson grew up in a well known family from Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, and she had an older sister named Lavinia. At the time of her birth, Dickinson's parents were too poor to take care of her. In order to ensure that she had all that she needed, Emily was sent off to live with her Aunt Lavinia, who lived about forty miles outside of Amherst. Approximately one year later, Dickinson returned home to her parents. When she did, her mother had birthed another child, Austin. Her father had started a successful law firm and was now making enough money to support his family (Poetry Exhibits).
While living with her Aunt Lavinia, Dickinson was showered with love and affection. However, the move back home was a difficult adjustment for the two-year old. Her mother was not an affectionate person, and this had a profound impact in Dickinson. She even went so far as to say "I never had a mother. I suppose a mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled" (Dommermuth-Costa 11-14). Due to this statement, one could surmise that this may be the reason the Dickinson expressed her emotion in her poetry.
During her schooling days, Dickinson attended Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. She enjoyed school and had many friends. She was quite fond of her brother and the two were rather close as well. One of her favorite pastimes as a child was reading, even though her father strongly disapproved of it, unless she was reading the Bible. In April 1845, when Dickinson was at the age of fourteen, one her best friends, Sophia Holland, died. This had a profound impact on the young girl and it took her years to come to terms with the loss. Her mother suggested that she leave town for a while, to clear her head. So Emily up and left for Boston, Massachusetts to visit her Aunt Lavinia (Dommermuth-Costa 25). In 1847, Dickinson enrolled in Mount Holyoke Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts at the age of sixteen. Due to severe homesickness, she left after only attending one year (Poetry Exhibits).
Upon returning to Amherst, Dickinson would become a mysterious woman and there are many stories about her. One of such is that she wrote beautiful poetry of nature and of her feelings, and that she only shared them with her sister. Another of these myths is that she stayed in seclusion because of a broken heart (Dommermuth-Costa 8). Although most say that Dickinson spent her life in total seclusion, there was one man that she fancied, Reverend Charles Wadsworth, whom she met in Philadelphia. However when he moved west, she began to live in total isolation from the outside world but actively maintained correspondences and read widely (Poetry Exhibits). "Emily Dickinson was indeed a real person. She was a woman with a soft, gentle voice. She was a writer and a poet, and she was very shy. [She] was happiest spending her life in her house and the surrounding gardens. Because of her solitary life [Emily Dickinson] found time to...