None of Emily Dickinson's readers has met the woman who lived and died
in Amherst, Massachusetts more than a century ago, yet most of those same
readers feel as if they know her closely. Her reclusive life made understanding
her quite difficult. However, taking a close look at her verses, one can learn a
great deal about this remarkable woman. The poetry of Emily Dickinson delves
deep into her mind, exposing her personal experiences and their influence on her
thoughts about religion, love, and death. By examining her life some, and
reading her poetry in a certain light, one can see an obvious autobiographical
All the beliefs and emotions Emily Dickinson wrote about were based, in
one way or another, on the same aspect of her upbringing, which was religion.
During her childhood, life in Amherst was based strongly upon religion and
Puritan values. The distinctive Puritan virtues of simplicity, austerity, hard
work, and denial of flesh, were ever-present disciplines in Emily's life (Sewall
22). Despite her stubborn denials to be labeled, she was very much of a "New
Englander". Cynthia Griffen Wolff, author of Emily Dickinson, points out that
Emily "knew every line of the Bible intimately, quoted from it extensively, and
referred to it many more times than she referred to any other work... yet in
this regard she was not unusual by Amherst's standards" (72). The most
prominent figure of religious virtues in her life was her father, Edward
Dickinson. Reading the Bible to his children and speaking in town of religious
ethics were daily events in his life. At home, he tried to raise his children
in the rigorous religion of their ancestors, however his methods appeared quite
harsh. People who knew the Dickinsons referred to Edward as a "severe, latter-
day Puritan, a power-minded tyrant...", and his home was often depicted as a "
gloomy prison" (Sewall 8). In fact, Emily's fear and... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(1999, 10). The Influence of Personal Experiences in Emily Dickinson's Poetry. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Influence-Personal-Experiences-Emily-Dickinsons-Poetry-4591.html
"The Influence of Personal Experiences in Emily Dickinson's Poetry" StudyMode.com. 10 1999. 10 1999 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Influence-Personal-Experiences-Emily-Dickinsons-Poetry-4591.html>.
"The Influence of Personal Experiences in Emily Dickinson's Poetry." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Influence-Personal-Experiences-Emily-Dickinsons-Poetry-4591.html.