Literal VS. Imaginative
Is anything in a work of fictional prose or poetry truly a public display? Are all walks of literature written for a writer’s private beliefs? Public images within a writer of prose’s work and that of a writer of poems can contrast each other, as purely as a disparity of their private imagery through the texts they create. Through the poetry of Emily Dickinson, a form of literal views as well as imaginative can be seen. Dickinson created many poems within her career; all of these poems were unknown to the rest of society until their publication after Dickinson’s death. The use of the term “private” to explain the works of Dickinson can be described as the literal. Dickinson was, for unknown reasons, a lonely woman with unexplainable reasoning behind her poetry. The spiritual beliefs of Dickinson remain quite a mystery today because her poems express unsettling religious views. However, the public knowledge she seems to share within her poetry is unique. Dickinson’s private thoughts are viewed as public to the audiences of her poetry. Contrastable to Dickinson is Henry James, a writer of fictional prose. The short story, Daisy Miller: A Study, is a key example of the views James chooses to share and conceal through his writing. As a reader, the thoughts and opinions of James’ main character, Winterbourne, are the private portions of the story. However, the actions of Daisy Miller and the reactions to her behaviors are public images portrayed throughout the short story. Also, any and all statements made to Winterbourne can be seen as public due to the assumption that they are true to the public and not made-up by Winterbourne and his own character views. Through the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the prose work of Henry James, an exploration of the divergences between the “public” and “private,” as well as their purpose within the work, can properly be uncovered. The thoughts and writings of a poet such as Emily Dickson are...
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