The Poet Who Watched the World through Her Window

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  • Topic: Emily Dickinson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Amherst, Massachusetts
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  • Published : February 19, 2013
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The Poet Who Watched the World Through Her Window

Brionna Gardenhire

9th Grade Honors Literature
Mr. Phillip Grabowskii
November 13, 2012

Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. She was the oldest daughter of Edward Dickinson, a successful lawyer, member of Congress, and for many years treasurer of Amherst College, and of Emily Norcross Dickinson, a timid woman. Lavinia, Dickinson’s sister, described Emily as "perfectly well & contented—She is a very good child & but little trouble." (Sewall 324) She was graduated from Amherst Academy in 1847, which was founded by her grandfather, Samuel Dickinson (Sewall, 337, Wolff, 19–21). She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley in 1847, but severe homesickness led her to return home after one year. At the age of seventeen she settled into the Dickinson home and turned herself into a housekeeper and a more than ordinary observer of Amherst life. Dickinson rarely left the house and always wore white. She became known as a reclusive eccentric. The people she did come in contact with, however, made a major impact on her poetry.

When Emily was 18, she was introduced to Benjamin Franklin Newton, who had the most effect on her life as a poet. He came to Amherst in the fall of 1847 as a twenty-six-year-old aspiring law student desiring to study for two years in the recently formed partnership office of Dickinson and Bowdoin. Emily Dickinson met him just as she enrolled in Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, and she became acquainted with his love of books during the several weeks the following March that she was home nursing a severe cold. He was able to guide Dickinson to poets and authors he esteemed. He recognized Dickinson’s exceptional mind and encouraged her talent for writing. Newton was still able to keep in contact with Dickinson while studying for his bar, opening up his own law practice, and then became the District Attorney of Worcester County. The most...
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