Every author is unique in terms of their writing. Some authors are more famous than others because of their literary works. Emily Dickinson is a world renown poet. The reason she is so famous is because of the universal themes, styles, and techniques she incorporated into her poems. Emily Dickinson became extremely famous due to the themes in her writings. Dickinson has many themes in her writing. Some of the themes occur due to influences based on her life. The two most common themes she wrote about was the theme of death and time (Roy 8).
During her life, many of her loved ones passed away, such as Charles Wadsworth, Helen Hunt Jackson, and her mother. This influenced her poetry because many of her poems contained the death of close ones or herself. An example would be “Because I could not stop for Death. ” In this poem, she introduces the theme of death as describing death as a chariot driver that comes unexpectedly (Roy 8). Emily Dickinson’s poems containing death display many universal themes about the experience of death, but sometimes she uses unconventional ways to show it.
This includes the reaction of death and the effects it has on the person dying and his/her loved ones. In the poem “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died”, Dickinson has an ironic ending for the character’s last memory on his/her deathbed. In the end of the poem the person dying is expecting this immense experience of going to heaven and seeing friends and family as the last thing he/she sees and hears before dying, but the poem unexpectedly ends with the speaker seeing a fly before he/she dies.
Harold Bloom states “The central character is a fly, whose buzzing interrupts and exaggerates the silence of the scene-no shock, no sorrow, no desperation. The poem communicates the profundity of the experience through stillness and absence” (Bloom 37). This quote explains how Emily Dickinson uses the intensity that comes along with death to express her message to her readers Since the buzzing fly is the only noise heard, the sadness that follows a death is less grave. What should be a dramatic deathbed scene turns into an anticlimactic end to contradict a more conventional response to someone’s death.
The reader expects Dickinson to describe the dying character’s loved ones crying as the last thing he/she hears before dying, but the fly shows the reader that we sometimes will not have this grand end to our lives. Dickinson’s uses death in this poem as a theme to show that our death may be unexpected and ordinary (Bloom 37). The theme of death that is shown in “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died” has a less conventional message than some of her other poems. Most people believe in some sort of afterlife. Although this poem contains no mention of immortality, her other poems do reveal her belief in immortality (Roy 8).
A poem that displays this is “Because I could not stop for Death”. Dickinson represents death as a being and not just a sudden action like in different poems. Death brings the person in the poem on a journey to show her the previous stages in her life and eventually her grave (Bloom 37). In her poems that contained the theme of death, there was often a connecting theme of immortality and her belief in God. Dickinson’s religious belief made an impact on her poems about death. She often included her beliefs about death into the poem.
One belief that was heavily included in her writings was an afterlife with God (Roy 10). She viewed death as a phrase between life on earth and an afterlife. A belief in an afterlife shows that her religious beliefs influenced her writings. She believed that the soul would live on after our bodies decay (Rahman 5). According to (Frank 3), the speaker in “Because I could not stop for death” is speaking about his/her experience of death in a past tense. This is displayed when Dickinson says “Since then- tis been centuries [… ] I first surmised the Horses’ Heads Were toward Eternity”.
The theme of immortality is evident in this poem because if the speaker is speaking about her death in the past tense, then there must be an afterlife (Frank 3). Speaking in the past tense in “Because I could not stop for death” does not show Dickinson’s belief in an afterlife, but also her attitude towards death. In this poem, she describes death as a carriage driver who is very kind towards her. This is shown in first few lines of the poem “Because I could not stop for Death– He kindly stopped for me” (Frank 6). Death and immortality are two different people in this poem.
Immortality is described as a passenger to death in the carriage (Bloom 37). Although immortality has an infinite amount of time, she often writes about the theme of time. She is fascinated about people’s time on earth and the limited time we have on earth. Unlike the afterlife life on earth has a certain time limit for everyone before they pass away. This is shown in all her poems that involve the inevitability of death. She tells the reader not to run away from death because at one point we will all die and there will be an afterlife (Roy 14).
Although Emily Dickinson is infamous for her many themes, it is not the only thing that makes her such a great writer. One of the things that sets her apart from every other writer is her writing style. An author’s writing style is how the writer writes. It makes each author different and has an unique effect on the reader due to the originality of the literary works. An example of writing style is the use of dialect to set the mood of the literary work. Dickinson’s writing style is viewed as very unorthodox. This is due to her word choice, grammar, and rhyme scheme (Major Characteristics of Dickinson 9).
Dickinson’s grammar was not conventional. She had incorrect grammar in capitalization, word choice, and use of vocab. Instead of only capitalizing the words at the beginning of every line, some of the words in the middle of a line would be capitalized. There is not an exact reason as to why she capitalizes random words. Her use of words is also uncommon. She compresses words in her writing by leaving connecting and helping verbs. The words she used also was unique in style. Emily Dickinson is well known for using words for their less known meanings.
Some of these words only she knew what she meant by it. Her use of vocab often concealed the meaning of her poems. (Major Characteristics of Dickinson 10). Dickinson often used dashes in her writing. There are several reasons why she used dashes. One reason she used them was to represent a pause when reading the poem. Since her poems were unorthodox, the reader did not pause until they reached a dash, not at the end of each line of the poem. The dashes were not only used for reading. Another use for the dashes was to connect different sections of the poems.
They were also used to stress common nouns (Major Characteristics of Dickinson 9). A unique writing style Dickinson had was the point of view she wrote her poems in. Point of view is the way a literary work is told. Her use of point of view creates a personal relation between the reader and the poem. Emily Dickinson mostly wrote her poems in the 1st person point of view. She often used the first person “I” to address the readers in her poems. When she uses the pronoun “T” in her poems, she uses “I” to address the readers of the poem not herself (Major Characteristics of Dickinson 3).
Another literary style that sets her apart from other poets is her rhyme scheme. Rhyme Scheme is the way poets rhyme their lines and stanzas in their poems. Around the time Emily Dickinson was writing, most poets used a conventional rhyme scheme. The conventional rhyme scheme at the time was iambic pentameter. This was a fixed set of syllables where the last word of each line rhymed. She often used slant rhyme in her poems. Slant rhyme is a rhyme scheme where the words have a similar sound but do not rhyme.
The use of slant rhyme was not ommonly used by others during this time and this literary style set her apart from the rest (Major Characteristics of Dickinson 8). Writing techniques are different for every writer. Writers vary in their use of techniques because some use more com poetic devices while others use simpler techniques. A major technique Dickinson uses is her use of imagery in her poems. Dickinson used concrete images to describe abstract ideas. A common abstract idea that she uses concrete images for is death. In “Because I could not stop for death” death is the image of a carriage driver (Bloom 37).
Her education influenced the images she included into her poems. These images include nature and planets. An example is shown in the poem “I’ll Tell You How The Sun Rose”, she talks about the mystery of how the sun rises and sets. It describes how difficult it can be to understand the mystery of nature (Major Characteristics of Dickinson 5). One technique that Dickinson uses well is her use of personas. Many of her poems use personas to describe abstract things. Even though she used the pronoun “l” in her poems to address the reader, she also used it to refer to one of the personas (Major Characteristics of Dickinson 5).