American Literature

   Reading Journals for Emily Dickinson 

Pick the question that you feel that you can answer the most completely.
There is no one question that is "better" than the other one

  1.  Million dollar question: Why didn't Emily Dickinson allow her poetry to be published in her life? She clearly thought it was worth sharing, because she sent it to friends. She clearly thought it was worth saving, as she saved it very carefully. She clearly thought it had value, as she left it to her niece. So why not publish it during her lifetime? Answer as completely as you can. answer this journal 
  2. Dickinson's poetry tends to be about death and darkness, and yet her poetry is considered to be beautiful and enchanting by many readers. Why and how? After all, Poe isn't seen as beautiful and enchanting. What is it about Dickinson's poetry that allows the reader to get a happy, or at least uplifted, feeling despite the content?   answer this journal

  3. Whitman opened up poetry by becoming wide and expansive. However, Dickinson also opened up poetry with her cramped, precise little poems. How? Explain what Dickinson did that was so different from regular poetry of her day that allowed her to be so influential to 20th century poets.  answer this journal

  4. Emily Dickinson's poems tend to be puzzles that need to be uncovered bit by bit. take any of the poems from the reading assignment and explain in a paragraph or so what you think the meaning is. answer this journal

  5. Probably the most overlooked element of Emily Dickinson's writing is her humor. It's not slapstick, laugh out loud type humor -- it's darker and more ironic, but it's there. Show at least one instance of Dickinson's humor and explain what you think it adds to her overall body of work.  answer this journal