Student Note: What Internal Conflicts and Reflections Did Emily Dickinson Express in Her Writing?

By  //  November 26, 2020

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When it comes to American poetry, Emily Dickinson is often regarded as somewhat of a founding mother. Her life, and her work, are notorious for their dark and reclusive nature. Choosing to live mostly in a state of avoiding society, Emily Dickinson was little known during her lifetime.

So reclusive from society was she that she only published around 10 of an estimated 1800 poems that she wrote throughout her life.

However, despite this reclusion from society, she has gone on to be one of the most famous poets of the modern era and an important object of study in American literature. She has gone on to be studied by swathes of young people in high school and college across the USA and even in schools and universities far beyond.

Her life and work are so fascinating that many university students choose to make Emily Dickinson the focus of their education and their writing. It is a testament to the power of her writing that even the teenagers of today are so eager to research and write papers on her work.

When it comes to writing an essay about Emily Dickinson, students have many options as to the angle they take. Having lived a life of isolation and intrigue, her biography itself makes for an interesting topic for research. Beyond that, the themes and aesthetics of her poetry are a favourite for young writers to delve into.

Students can find many plagiarism free examples of writing on Emily Dickinson online over at These give a great insight into all the many approaches there are to learning about the life and poems of the great Emily Dickinson.

The life of Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830. She came from a well-established family in the community and received a good education for a girl of her time, studying in a number of academies in Massachusetts throughout her youth.

In her adolescence, Dickinson was exposed to a number of prominent writers who would go on to motivate her own work. The works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charlotte Bronte, and William Shakespeare would have a profound effect on her love for literature.

Once she finished her schooling and returned to Amherst, a number of close associates of Dickinson died one after the other from common illnesses of the time.

These deaths caused Dickinson to fall into a state of melancholy, and with that, her period of self-isolation. As this isolation increased throughout her 20s, so too did her output of poetry. By the late 1850s, she was a prolific writer of poetry, although she didn’t seek out publication.

Dickinson was notorious for her love for maintaining letter correspondence with a wide variety of friends. Many of her friends were fellow literary enthusiasts and, often, these letters would include poems for one another.

Emily Dickinson maintained this life of writing in isolation for most of her life, and by the 1880s had abandoned all attempts at organizing her work for publication.

Following a string of family deaths, Emily too died of Bright’s Disease in 1886, at the age of 55. Before her death, she made her sister promise to burn all of her work once she was gone.

Dickinson’s poetry

The work of Emily Dickinson is notable for the wide variety of themes that she explores. Often, her work blended a mix of deep internal reflection with metaphors drawn from nature and spirituality.

In order to talk about her own pain and anxiety, Dickinson made careful allusions to mythology, the sublime, and nature. By drawing on such vast concepts to describe her own inner state, Dickinson’s work is often held in high esteem for its ability to show that every person’s mind is a world of its own.

The changes visible in her poetry as she aged are a great way of teaching poetic development, as her work began as rather sentimental. By her later years, however, she was breaking convention and exploring themes such as existence and mortality.

Thankfully for future generations, Emily Dickinson’s sister ignored her request to destroy her poetry, and in doing so, gave her and her work a form of immortality.

It is Emily Dickinson’s faith in the power of expression through literature that has inspired so many since to put pen to paper and express themselves freely.