Dickinson’s Poetry Is Startling and Eccentric. Discuss.

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Dickinson’s poetry is startling and eccentric. Discuss.

Perhaps one of the aspects that draw us to the poetry of Dickinson is its eccentricity and startling nature. In her poetry, Emily Dickinson explores a number of different themes including death, hope, nature, pain and love. The trademark signs of a Dickinson poem are her hallmark dashes she uses. Her dashes suggest that there is more to the story than she is writing down. Another characteristic of Dickinson’s poetry is the capitalization of random words throughout her poems. This could suggest importance of the words that she is highlighting. A large number of Dickinson’s poetry revolves around the theme of death; both psychological and physical. She makes the reader question what
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In the first stanza it is described as “like the Heft/Of Cathedral Tunes –, “ which is not a common simile for something oppressive, making it clear that this light’s oppression is of a complicated nature. The solemn tone created through the strong assonance and Dickinson’s trademark dashes weighs us down.
‘’ None may teach it – Any –
'Tis the Seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air – ‘’
It is a poem that is severely distressing. The personification Dickinson uses in the final stanza was unanticipated. She tells us
‘’the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath – ‘’
It is powerful enough that even nature notices its presence and its departure allows for an unusual understanding of death “When it goes, ‘tis like the Distance / On the look of Death –“.

Dickinson’s poem ‘Hope is the Thing with Feathers’ is very different to most of her other poetry but, it is equally as startling and eccentric. The theme of this poem is more upbeat and cheery compared to the rest of her poetry. It is a poem that examines what is possible with hope and how far hope can carry a person. The poem uses a bird as a symbol to define the feeling that hope can give an individual.
‘’Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul, ‘’
This proves that Dickinson is eccentric as most people would never compare hope to ‘the Thing with Feathers’. What is striking about the poem is its absolute simplicity, both in structure and in the words the poem presents. The