Emily Dickinson Transcendentalism Essay

Emily Dickinson: Transcendentalist Or Anti Transcendentalist? Essay

Shannon Turner

Sr. Sharon

ACP American Literature

13th February, 2014

Emily Dickinson: Transcendentalist or Anti-Transcendentalist?

Emily Dickinson is one of the most iconic writers in American literature. Although she mostly wrote poetry, her writings and messages changed the American viewpoint in drastic ways. Her themes regarding death, friendship, family, and relationships have survived the trials of time and are still prominently discussed in complex nature in modern literature classes. Although Emily Dickinson is a common topic of discussion regarding American literature, one question about her continues to puzzle critics. That question is: Does Emily Dickinson fall under the umbrella of writers who expressed transcendentalist ideas? This puzzles critics because Emily Dickinson's poetry expresses both transcendentalist and anti-transcendentalist ideas. Although Emily Dickinson's poetry shows inconsistencies by expressing both transcendentalist and anti-transcendentalist, she would be considered a transcendentalist because of her fascination with the divine aspect of the human role in the world.

In many of her poems, Emily Dickinson reflects the ideas of transcendentalism. Dickinson chose to write about topics that deal with nature, which is a common trait of the transcendentalists. In Emily Dickinson's poem, "I Never Saw a Moor," she says, "I never saw the sea/ Yet I know how the heather looks/ And what a billow be" (389. 2-4). Dickinson is saying that she has never seen the sea, but that she knows what it looks like. In the same way, she also expresses how she has never seen God or Heaven, but that she knows they exist (Fu). This mention of the divine nature could be an expression of transcendentalism. Dickinson's belief that God and Heaven exist and that she knows what the sea looks like could be a reference to intuition and her utmost faith in her intuition. Dickinson's mention of her faith in her intuition is a reflection of the ideals of transcendentalism because she believes that her intuition can lead her through life and will not ultimately corrupt her, unlike the institutions of society that transcendentalists believe did corrupt people.

Emily Dickinson also expresses her transcendentalist beliefs...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

trancendentalism Essay

1518 words - 6 pages Transcendentalism is a literary, religious, and philosophical movement originating in New England in the mid-1830s and remaining influential until the 1860s. The philosophy behind transcendentalism was an eclectic mix of English romanticism (especially as mediated by William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle), antirationality, antipuritanism, the mysticism of Emanuel Swedenborg, and aspects of Eastern philosophies. The...

Emily Dickinson Essay

2639 words - 11 pages Emily Dickinson      Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, was born on December 10, 1830 in the small town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily was born into a wealthy and well-known family. Living with her father, mother, sister, and brother, Emily went through emotional problems as a child. Her father, Edward Dickinson, was a lawyer, treasurer of Amherst College, and a member of Congress. He was an orthodox Calvinist and he raised...

Emily Dickinson

1660 words - 7 pages Emily Dickinson is known as America's most famous and misunderstood poet. More then a hundred years ago, Dickinson wrote well over 2,000 poems about her thoughts on God, death, religious beliefs and various other subjects that she dealt with everyday of her life. Only ten of her poems were published during her lifetime while hundreds of thousands of others were not found until after her death. Many believe that her life reflected on her...

Religious Influences on Emily Dickinson: Puritanism and Transcendentalism in Her Poetry.

1424 words - 6 pages Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830. Her father, Edward Dickinson, was a prominent lawyer in Amherst and a well respected trustee of Amherst College (Blankenship 576). Emily Dickinson was educated at Amherst Academy and, for only a single year, at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College) under Mary Lyon (Hart...

Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman

1212 words - 5 pages 1. Short Essay (If you were coming in the Fall)Emily Dickinson has a very distinct style of poetry. She uses slantline (incomplete thoughts) which she delveloped in this poem, If you were coming in the Fall. She also uses one of her classic themes, love. The theme love by itself is much too simple, however, here she adopts the more developed theme of hope of romantic fulfillment. Basically it is love between two people (I assume...

Comparison of Dickinson's Poetry.

1103 words - 4 pages Emily Dickinson grew up in a formidable Puritan family in Amherst, New England. In the beginning she was as much like her peers as any other child. As the years went on however, it would become clear that she was a singular person. The older Emily became, the more reluctant she became to leave home for even an hour at a time. During the last ten years of her life she refused to leave her house or garden at all, and her travels had barely taken...


602 words - 2 pages Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist and poet, was a central figure in the transcendental movement of the mid-19th century. Published in 1841, his essay 'Self-Reliance' introduced the core ideas of transcendentalism to the American public. In many ways, 'Self-Reliance' was a call to arms, inviting Americans to use their...

American Lit.

958 words - 4 pages Over the course of 300 years America has seen several different styles of culture, writing, and art. As a country it has been through much change in all three of these areas. The one thing that has remained consistent is the literary influence writers and artist living in America during these time periods have over those who follow their works. It seems as though the second these literary/art geniuses put their pen to paper, or brush to canvas...

American transcendentalism

1448 words - 6 pages American Transcendentalism "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to from only essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived" (Thoreau). American Transcendentalism was a literary and philosophical movement that emerged in New...

On because I could not stop for death

1402 words - 6 pages Abstract: Death and eternity are the major themes in most of Emily Dickinson'spoems." Because I could not stop for death "is one of her classic poems.Through the analysis, this essay clarifies infinite conceptions by thedialectical relationship between reality and imagination, the known andthe unknown. And it tells what's eternity in Dickson's eyes.Keywords: death, eternity, finite,...

Henry David Thoreau: The Grat Transcendentalist

2173 words - 9 pages Henry David Thoreau along with a select group of people propelled the short movement of transcendentalism during the 1830s to the 1850s and was later brought up during the Vietnam War. Many of the transcendentalist ideas came from student who attended Harvard University during this time period. Henry David Thoreau’s individualistic anarchist views on society were developed throughout his early life and later refined in his years of solitude;...

Emily Dickinson: Transcendentalist Experience Through Imagination

1514 WordsOct 15th, 19997 Pages

Emily Dickinson: Transcendentalist Experience Through Imagination

The early 19th century ideas of transcendentalism, which were introduced by Ralph Emerson and David Thoreau, where man as an individual becomes spiritually consumed with nature and himself through experience are contrasted by Emily Dickinson, who chose to branch off this path by showing that a transcendentalist experience could be achieved through imagination alone. These three monumental writers set the boundaries for this new realm of thought.
Although these writers ideas were not similar, they all followed the simple idea that "the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul" . The male perspective seen through the works of Thoreau and Emerson, where nature "refers…show more content…

Emerson felt that man, corrupted by society, can over power the fate of over looking his true meaning. Escaping from the wheel of society into "the woods, is perpetual youth". By living in the woods, he found that fusing nature with soul, one can accomplish anything.

Emerson felt that nature was an extension of five of his senses, where he could feel the tree moving in the wind as if it was his own body. He stressed the theme of "having intercourse with heaven and earth", or interlacing your body and soul with nature. But, of all five senses, he stressed vision the most. Beauty can only be accomplished through the gate way of the eye, which is where most experiences are derived from. "The eye is the best of artists" , and has the power to display "the simple perception of natural forms" , which is where true beauty comes form. "Nature satisfies the soul purely by its loveliness" . By becoming "a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all" .

Being self reliant on oneself, following the idea that "Man is his own star" , Emerson displays his transcendentalist idea that applies to anyone who would like to follow it. The importance of flowing with nature, and excepting what you are is stressed in Emerson's self-reliance. By following the modo "Ne te quæsiveris extra" , Emerson completely committed himself to

Show More

Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Emily Dickinson Transcendentalism Essay”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *