A Poet Ahead Of Her Time

  • Category: American History
  • Words: 424
  • Grade: 76
Emily was a poet ahead of her time. She was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830. Emily began writing poetry when she was about twenty years of age. Over a decade later, her correspondence with Thomas Wentworth Higginson began. She would send her non-titled poems to him for publication, but he didn't think they were acceptable because they did not follow the standard format like the other writings in her time. While on a trip in Philadelphia, she met Charles Wadsworth, a married minister. Despite his status, she fell in love with him. Wadsworth was transferred to San Fransisco, California around 1860, across the nation away from Miss Dikinson. Emily did not get over this infatuation very easily and never married in her lifetime. It is surmised that from this heartache came her poem "After Great Pain" I believe the last line in the poem "First-Chill-then Stupor-then the letting go" sums up the three stages she experienced; shock, disorientation, and recovery.

        First, the shock can be felt with her words with "After great pain, a formal feeling comes". She is motionless from this feeling. She writes "The Nerves sit" and in the next line "The stiff Heart" which depicts no movement.

        Secondly, her disoriented feeling is described in her motions of not knowing if she is walking on solid ground or in the air or whatever, "The Feet, mechanical, go round-/ On Ground, or Air, or Ought-" Her disorientation is also shown in the line "A Wooden way/Regardless grown" showing she has not gone through these emotions before, it is untraveled territory.

Finally, we can understand she is going through her recovery. She is faced with the intense moment, "This is the Hour of Lead". She's sinking in the heaviness of the pain, not knowing if she will survive, "Remember, if outlived". And then her recovery. She writes of freezing persons recollecting the freezing snow how they feel; "First-Chill" (shock), "then Stupor" (disorientation), "then the letting go" (recovery).

In conclusion, Emily's heartache took her through new emotions and trials she had never experienced before. She felt the shock, the loss of feeling, of losing someone dear to her. Then she felt lost with out that person. Her emotions were wandering down an unfamiliar path. And finally, she recovered from the heartache; she accepted that he was no longer going to be in her life. Emily was a poet ahead of her time.
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