Essay 12

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Usually, Dickinson portrays death as the main theme in her poems but in these two particular poems, she uses death as a feature in order to portray a bigger theme, faith. Dickinson’s ‘the World is not Conclusion’ considers on the concept of the afterlife and ‘Behind Me-Dips Eternity’ considers about life and immortality. I will analyse both of these poems to find out how Dickinson presents faith using the language, form and structure.

501 is an interesting poem as it combines elements of afterlife, doubt and faith. But she starts with a strong, aphoristic, positive statement as an opening, ‘The World Is Not Conclusion.’ The statement conveys the sense of finality and conclusion because of the punctuation. The full stop emphasises the statement and makes us remember the phrase very well. This suggests that Dickinson states that the world is not going to end with certainty, as she knows it as a fact.

Dickinson presents faith by using personification. For example, she says, ‘faith slips.’ Faith is presented as a young, innocent girl who slips. ‘Slips’ may suggest that both of the abstract concept of loss of faith and the more concrete image of the physical movement of tripping. It suggests that she isn’t confident about faith; we see a sense of doubt and uncertainty in the word ‘faith’ which is why it is personified as a young girl.

Dickinson uses capitalised words to present faith. For example, ‘Must Gesture, from the Pulpit’. ‘Must’, ‘Gesture’, ‘Pulpit’ may have been capitalised because it seems to us that Dickinson is mocking faith and the church, as ‘Pulpit’ is associated with church. ‘Must Gesture’ could mean that all the love that people give for religion isn’t going to solve their problems. On the other hand in ‘Behind Me-Dips Eternity’ she uses capitalised words because to show the uncertainty she has on faith. For example, her last line, ‘Maelstrom - in the Sky –‘ She capitalised ‘Sky’ and ‘Maelstrom’ because ‘Maelstrom’ is a large storm that is...
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