Emily Dickinson - Impact of Poetry Sample Answer

2005

What impact did the poetry of Emily Dickinson make on you as a reader?  Your answer should deal with the following: 

(a) Your overall sense of the personality of the poet,

(b) The poet’s use of language/imagery.

Refer to the poems by Emily Dickinson that you have studied.

As a reader, I felt Emily Dickinson’s poetry invoked a predominantly emotional response. Her ability to conduct language and tone has a chilling quality that lingers with the reader. The imagery and concepts she was conveying range from simplistic to deeply harrowing. Her ability to conjure such a diversity of emotions with so few words is something, I believe, that has a strong impact on the reader.

Dickinson’s poetry is varied but the majority of poems we studied conveyed her personality in a sadly morose light. Emily Dickinson’s poetry has a strong sense of self in it. As a poet, I found, Dickinson conveyed her emotions and expressed her feelings with her inner self through themes and imagery. The impact her poetry had on me was greatly emotional. The knowledge I gained of her own personal life helped me to contextualise her poetry and although the poems can stand alone without context, being aware of the feelings she could invoke was framed by the details of her life. The overall sense of personality I gained through studying her poetry involved feelings of isolation, and detachment from reality. Dickinson’s use of abstract imagery and themes challenges the reader’s sense of reality and one’s own personal feelings being attached to all we see.

In “Hope” is the thing with feathers there are echoes of her loneliness. Hope, in this poem, is personified as a ‘little Bird’ who is caught in a storm. A strong sense of this image is created in the first two stanzas. In the final stanza she uses her own voice and a true sense of self is established. She uses her sense to convey her part in the scene; she ‘heard’ the storm and depicts herself being ‘on the strangest sea’. It conjures the idea of being...

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