International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Reflection on Death in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson
Dr. Rashed Ahmad Daghamin

Death is Emily Dickinson‘s main theme which left its impact on all her thinking and gave its tint to the majority of her poems. For Dickinson, death is the supreme touchstone for life. She lived incessantly in his presence. She was always conscious of its nearness and inevitability. It becomes, in the words of Henry Wells, her closest and dearest friend (94). Investigation of the theme of death gave her a panoramic view of vital issues such as religion, God, nature, love and immortality. In the poems discussed in this study, death presumes different personalities taken from life surrounding Dickinson. The main features of death which are implied in her death poems reveal the very contradictions, absurdities and complexities of our life. Death may be a refined and respected coachman, a cruel victimizer and a personal enemy, a leveler, an elusive lover, a suitor, an assassin, and a democrat. The poet uses these concrete images to portray death, which is an abstract force, in an attempt to come to terms with it as well as to fathom it. She gave death human and nonhuman characteristics as part of her inexorable quest to comprehend it. In her death poems, she did not offer a final view of death because death for her remains the great unknown mystery. This paper, however, is an attempt to meticulously examine and critically analyze these images of death in selected poems of Emily Dickinson in order to gain a better understanding of her perception of death as well as to understand the western philosophy of death.

Full Text: PDF