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Free Essays: Impact of the Word on Dickinson Biography Biographies Essays

2016-03-31 | 来源:51due教员组 | 类别:更多范文

Impact of the Word on Dickinson
In Donald E. Thackrey’s essay "The Communication of the Word," he talks about how "the power of the individual word, in particular, seems to have inspired her with nothing less than reverence" (51). Dickinson approached her poetry inductively, that is, she combined words to arrive at whatever conclusion the patterns of the words suggested, rather than starting out with a specific theme or message. Instead of purposefully working toward a final philosophical point, Dickinson preferred to use series of "staccato" inspirations (51). Dickinson frequently used words with weight in her work, and as a result her works usually cannot be grasped fully in one reading without dissecting each word individually. Often Dickinson would compile large, alternative word lists for a poetry before she would come to a decision on which word was "just right" for the impact she wished to achieve (52). For example, this poem displays Dickinson’s use of alternative, thesaurus-like lists: Had but the tale a thrilling, typic, hearty, bonnie, breathless, spacious, tropic, warbling, ardent, friendly, magic, pungent, winning, mellow teller All the boys would come— Orpheus’s sermon captivated, It did not condemn.   Eventually, Dickinson came to rest on the word "warbling," but one can see the meticulous care that she put into the decision on which word to use. Another poem of Dickinson’s that shows her compositional method is "Shall I Take Thee?" the Poet Said." In this poem, Dickinson discusses from where the power of the world comes. "Shall I take thee?" the poet said To the propounded word. "Be stationed with the candidates Till I have further tried."   The poet probed philology And when about to ring For the suspended candidate, There came unsummoned in   That portion of the vision The word applied to fill. Not unto nomination The cherubim reveal. In the preceding poem, one can see the artistic style come through her composition. The best representation of that particular idea comes from the author Donald Thackrey when he says: It is significant that the revealed word comes "unsummoned" in a flash of intuition….and yet the implication of the poem is that the revealing of the word must be preceded by the preparatory, conscious, rational effort of probing philology…She [Dickinson] herself was well aware that inspiration, while all-sufficient when present, seldom came even to a great poet. (53) Emily regarded the words she used as living entities that could have "being, growth, and immortality" (54). This attitude toward language comes through clearly in the following six-line poem about the nature of the "word." A word is dead When it is said, Some say. I say it just Begins to live That day. The idea that the word comes from the experience behind it takes precedence over the notion that a word is wasted when the vocal chords stop moving. Words have connotations that encompass the "entire circumference" of the idea in addition to its denotative worth (54). The complexity of the single, written word defined the limits of communication between human beings and, therefore, symbolized the isolation of the individual—a concept that can be seen in Dickinson’s personal, reclusive life. All preceding critical material came from: Thackrey, Donald E. "The Communication of the Word." Emily Dickinson: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Richard B. Sewall. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1963. 51-69.

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