“. . .”Belief”. . . in New England during Dickinson’s life and with the story of her refusal to convert to Christianity while a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary . . . Dickinson considered conversion a sign of giving up or resignation. . . Dickinson’s own experience with conversion counters her contemporaries’ beliefs: for the poet, it was an ongoing process, not a one-time, dramatic experience. . . Dickinson did not view doubt and belief as mutually exclusive, but as complementary states that keep faith healthy. . . Dickinson’s thoughts on proof. . . concludes that proof is the enemy of belief rather than doubt. . .
. . . “Mortality”. Incarnation . learning to die . mortality . . . Dickinson was indeed obsessed with death . . . but she was not a morbid person . . . many of her poems about death are motivated by her preoccupation with life and immortality . of which death is a central part. . . Dickinson’s life and poetry have helped her understand these phenomena.
. . .”Immortality”. . . Dickinson’s life as a recluse while making clear that the label “hermit” is better suited to describe the poets need to “step away from the world in order to engage its mystery more deeply” . . . Dickinson’s belief in the afterlife . . . burdened with the seeming emptiness of death . . . Dickinson felt it was short-sighted of people to assume that silence means unbelief . . . Dickinson’s struggle with feeling as if she must choose between loved ones and immorality. If a loved one were destined for hell, Dickinson’s impulse is to follow the beloved to hell rather than go to heaven alone . . . Dickinson’s embrace of immortality as a reality was a consequence of her own encounters with death. The loss of loved ones gave Dickinson hope of an afterlife.
. . . “Beauty” . . . a poem Dickinson wrote at the end of her life in 1885 . “Take all away from me, but leave me Ecstasy” . . . Dickinson’s capacity not just for resilience, but ecstasy, in the face of death and suffering . . . Dickinson in contemporary culture is remembered for her reclusiveness . her soft – breathless voice . and her white dress.”
By Kristen LeMay . I Told My Soul To Sing . . .
Excerpts Edited Down by j.kiley ’17