Questioning Faith: Emily Dickinson’s Struggle with Religion Through her Poetry
Emily Dickinson was a religious person, but she always questioned faith and religion in her poetry. She seems to not take a solid stance in the debate between science and faith. However, Dickinson seemed to particularly struggle with the idea of “faith” and what it really meant. This is evident in most of her poetry, but two poems that indicative of this are “Faith is a fine invention” and “I heard a Fly buzz--When I Died”.
"Faith is a fine invention" is a short poem comparing faith and science. I see this poem as a concise and truly accurate claim. Dickinson is basically portraying that religion is okay, just as long as the individual is aware of when it is appropriate to depend upon it. I think this poem does mock religion a bit. She never says that all people who put their trust in their religion are ignorant, but I do believe that she is implying that some may be consumed by their faith, to the point of blindness. Faith cannot solve everything, and those who believe it does are somewhat ignorant to believe so.
Dickinson also refers to “faith” as an “invention” in the first line of the poem. I feel that to imply that something has been invented would be to suggest that it’s artificial and not concrete. Maybe man has invented religion as a means of a scapegoat in situations, so that’s why faith, to Dickinson, is “...a fine invention / When Gentlemen can see--” (Dickinson 1-2). It is an invention, because religion sometimes may become a tool to draw attention away from immorality. This is true about those who claim to have strong faiths, but are very quick to find faults in others. Faith should not be way of taking the blame off of oneself. If someone cannot view their own behavior as immoral, are they completely blind?
This poem somewhat satirically mocks how people use faith in situations where it may prove to be completely useless. Certain life problems,...
Cited: Dickinson, Emily. ““Faith” is a fine invention.” Literature: Reading and Writing with Critical Strategies. Ed. Steven Lynn. New York: Pearson Education, Inc. 2004. 709. Print.
Dickinson, Emily. “I heard a Fly buzz--When I Died.” Literature: Reading and Writing with Critical Strategies. Ed. Steven Lynn. New York: Pearson Education, Inc. 2004. 709. Print.
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