Review of Related Literature

section is based on literature review. This literature review will cover the
key words such as Emily Dickinson Sylvia Plath, confessional poet, style, critic’s
views etc. Dickinson’s poem on death various criticism and previous studies are

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What is literature?                 

 Literature is a multidimensional phenomenon.
The complex nature of literature has given birth to divergent and many
approaches about literature. Similarly there are certain conventional and
unconventional ways and approaches to interpret a piece of literature. We can say
that literature is the portray of life through the medium of language. Language
is a crucial material source in literature because any piece of literature is a
work of language first e.g., poetry. Literature is image of society. It permits
us to enjoy, observe and learn the style and languages of people from previous
historical centuries, verses of the poems shows really sincere emotions and
arouse sentiments among readers and helps them to learn the realities of life enlighten
their minds and expand the vision of readers.

 Literature invokes a desire among the readers
to be more appreciative of the true spirit and actual meanings of that literature
that they read. It is not easy since the readers are s to be aware about literary
and historical past of any piece of literature. However they should  possess the sensibility of language in which
it is written and the grammatical and stylistic technicalities concerned in its
composition. Inside the beyond centuries a movement was initiated that has won
momentum especially in the modern days that stresses the claim that one can get
actual meanings of the text by analyzing critically its stylistic and
linguistic technicalities. This effort or this movement is called stylistics.
There have been a lot of studies so far, on stylistics and the investigation of
stylistic devices in literature. A lot of books and articles about this study
have been published especially in the past few decades respectively presenting
insightful notions and methodologies. The importance of stylistic devices in
poetry I ment to carry out a comparative study of investigation of stylistic
devices in Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath poetry, in order to obtain more
insight and to draw out a comparison in stylistic devices used in Dickinson and
Plath’s poetry.

is poetry?

Poetry in the large
sense brings the’ whole soul of men ‘into activity, with each faculty playing
its proper part according to its ‘relative worth and dignity’. Poetry is not
imagination of poet’s mind but it was an activity of poet’s mind which has not
meter not rhyme and not imagination.

According to Coleridge “Poetry of the highest kind
may exist without meter and even without rhyme and was contradistinguishing
object of mind:”

According to Emily Dickinson ‘If I fee physically as
if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry;

Poetry not only gives pleasure it also increases
learners sensitiveness of beauty specially the beauty of language. Poetry
should be taught for enjoying of thoughts, feeling, imagery, rhyme and rhythm.
It is used to convey emotions or ideas to the readers or listeners mind.


A lyrical poetry is non narrative poem. It is
comparatively short poem. A single speaker presents a state of mind. Lyric and
poetry keep some of the element of song which is said to be its origin; elegy,
ode, sonnet, dramatic monologue is subcategories and most occasional poetry of

Emily Dickinson a lot of
critics have argued intensively concerning Dickinson’s poem on death and their
topics are various, such as exploring her different themes, observing and
speculating on her religious beliefs. George and Barbara Perkins praised
Dickinson that:

remains incomparable because her originality sets her apart from all others,
but her poems shed the unmistakable light of greatness”. Her poem on death
stands remarkable in the American history.

Some critics paid attention to Dickinson’s
use of language skills and writing style. Emily Dickinson has a unique
technique than any other writer.  Her writing is ordinary but
intellectual in the same way.  Her approaches have been known to be a
little confusing to readers because of her bizarre usage in grammar, words, and
rhymes (Melani).  Her rhythm makes reading her poetry fairly less complicated
because she usually goes to widely known hymns (Melani).  Emily
Dickinson takes poetry to a whole at different level as many experts say, but
once you do get to understand her poetry; you may find great meaning in them.

demonstrates a few grammar inessential, but overall, Emily Dickinson did not
have the best grammar.  She never used commas or many other
punctuation marks. Sometimes you do not know what her pronouns are referring to
(Melani). she is seen not to have very good grammar but this is also the reason
why many experts find her poetry so interesting a puzzle or mystery. 

Opposite to her
grammar, her words and rhyming are too intellectual.  She used to
read the 1994 edition of Webster Dictionary, where she got many of her phrases.
(Melani).  The only problem with that is some of those words might
not be so modern.  Also, living alone gave her a habit to make up her
personal meanings to phrases, making it more mind teasing for readers.

Her rhyming
technique might not be what you would in the beginning see as an ordinary
rhyme, and would not have even been considered a rhyme again in her time
(Melani). But now, we have all forms of rhymes, like imperfect rhymes and
suspended rhymes, which Emily Dickinson used all the time.  You may
say that she actually invented some of the unique types of rhyming.

The only one
thing that makes Emily Dickinson’s writing fair would be her use of song and
rhythm.  She made many of her poems go to songs like Yankee Doodle or
Amazing Grace (Melani).  That is the only factor that is commonly
difficult to find out in a poem. How the poem is assume to sound, but Emily
Dickinson makes that component easy.

 In the
end, she creates her poems with a great sense of mystery, but also easy
too.  Dickinson makes it simple in her rhythm, at the same time
interesting in the word usage and grammar.  Whether on purpose or
not, who knows? Eventually she creates this notable great masterpiece with
a beautiful message behind it.  Emily Dickinson has inspired many
people, including her bizarre influence in rhyming, and has become an idol to
her readers.

According to
McNaughton, “she was not an agnostic, but certainly not an atheist. She never
denied the possibility of a God who calls us back to Him through death” (207).
She has never been an actual member of the church although she “continued to
attend services rather regularly until probably around 1852 and finally she
stopped entirely” (Ford 37). Dickinson lived in a Christian atmosphere that put
pressure on her to receive conversion, something she became obsessed with, as
she felt she could not “make the required formal declaration of faith” (Ford

This is
important, since Puritanism believed that personal conversion brought about
salvation in an afterlife, thus being one of ‘the elect’. As Ford mentions, “Emily
Dickinson early in life was seriously worried over being left out of ‘Christ’s
love’ since she had never personally experienced any form of conversion.

Her interest in
death was an aspect of continuing and profound concern over her own salvation”
(39). It seems that she tried to strongly believe, due to the stress society
put on religion with little or no success. However, she was not a rebel who
went against Puritanism; it just did not grow inside her. Her obsession
regarding what might happen after death, therefore, appeared as major source of
inspiration for her poetry. 

As McNaughton
exposes, “Emily Dickinson’s curiosity about death began when as a child she
noticed that ‘people went away and never came back.’ She tells of this in one
of her earlier poems”(208). Therefore, Dickinson’s awareness of death at an
early age helped to develop her later obsession.   

Indeed, as
shall be seen in a poem she dedicates to her neighbor,

“She continued
to show extreme concern and sympathy for families experiencing such trouble”
(Ford 56).

 Death is a term that does not tend to be
welcomed since it implies the end of life. It seems that most people are scared
to talk about it because it generates uncertainty but it is also a natural fact
which all humans will have to experience one day. It starts when life finishes
so if one considers death the opposite of life, then they cannot coexist.
However, this study has given evidence to prove its invalidity. Authors such as
Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton do consider death as part of life, since one might
affirm they were ‘dead’ in life. In an extreme position, Sexton believed she
should not have been born. However, poets such as Walt Whitman or Emily
Dickinson were fascinated by death and used poetry as a tool to discover or
reflect their inner thoughts about it. They also believed life could merge with
death, since they defended the presence of the dead among the living, which can
be understood as a belief in the afterlife.

 Dickinson, however, was not that sure of
immortality although she did want to believe in it. She was completely
fascinated by death and it meant a great and major question throughout her
whole life. Never completely devoted to religion, Dickinson was strictly influenced
by the ideas of Puritanism as well as Transcendentalism. The Puritan movement
declared the urge to receive conversion, but Dickinson never felt the ‘call’.
She was deeply concerned about her inability to become one of the ‘elected’ and
that uncertainty regarding the ‘Puritan afterlife’ increased her obsession
about death.

Her life was
surrounded by enigmatic elements which helped to develop in her a dark mood
towards death, since she lived next to the cemetery and the period of time she
lived in was full of illnesses. Dickinson’s interest in death became greater
and greater over time. The fact that she enjoyed funerals because of their
proximity to the afterlife exposes an interesting perspective which might not
be the most common. Her poetry reflects this allure of death and also describes
the moment of dying or even the corpses. Her perspective on death is, then,
that of curiosity as well as confusion. She wanted to believe in immortality to
give answers to her questions.



DiY anni indicated how to
read Dickinson’s poem stating that it requires repeated and careful reading
because Dickinson uses indirect language and special patterns in her poems. She
leaves a “gap” or unfinished story in each of her poems, allowing the reader to
interpret the conveyed message.

Gray pointed out that Dickinson’s fame is totally
from her genius styles of writing. To read and understand her poem, one may
need to concentrate and re- read a verse because she employs unconventional
grammar in her writing. She uses different diction and different figures of
speech than other poets. Her themes are always about the question of life and
especially death for which she uses varied tone in her compositions.

Fulton revealed that there
are only a small number of poems by Dickinson’s that can be read easily. She
employs a great deal of metaphor in her poetry such as household stuff, plants
or animals. to compare her poems with the language interestingly. It is like “…..all
other poems are tree and her poems are birds” This implies that Dickinson’s
poems are different. Because of the distinctive use of language and imagery,
her poems are difficult to comprehend and interpret.

Somrak studies Dickinson’s
13 poems on death in his research “A Critical study of Emily Dickinson s
literary works: poetic elements in poem of death”. They normally contain both
senses and sound devices which include: simile, metaphor, symbol,
personification, inversion, ellipsis, repetition, rhyme, alliteration, and

Not only Dickinson’s interesting writing
techniques but also her creative ideas are include her poems. Bradley Sculley
cited that “Her ideas were witty, rebellious, and original, yet she confined
her materials to the world of her small village, and a few good books”

perkins added that Dickinson
constructs her own world when she writes. She uses her imagination to portray
her ideas and thoughts. So then, it can be stated that Dickinson uses her wits
and draws on her own experiences in writing her unique poetry. By drawing on
those events from her personal world, she presents her thoughts to her readers.

people view the poetry of Emily Dickinson differently. Some people think that
Emily Dickinson was one of America’s greatest poets. On the other hand, some
people criticize her poetry for being strange and too hard to understand. Her
poems are also criticizes for other things; it all depends on the critic. A
critical review by R. P. Blackmur criticizes the writings of Emily Dickinson.

 R. P. Blackmur
opens his paper by saying, “There is no doubt that critics are justified in
complaining that her work is often cryptic in thought and unmelodious in
expression. Almost all of her poems are written in short measures, in which the
effect of curt brevity is increased by her verbal penuriousness” (Blackmur).
Emily Dickinson’s poems are all very short and her poetry definitely has her
own style. The simplicity can be seen in many of Emily Dickinson’s poem.
“Cocoon” is the example poem Blackmur shows in his paper.
“Cocoon” is a very simple poem, but not all of her poems are this
simple. Emily Dickinson has a lot of poems, and the reader see a difference in
her moods while she was writing her poetry. “Because we happen to possess
full records of her varying poetic moods, published, not with the purpose of
selecting her most artistic work, but with the intention of revealing very
significant human documents, we are not justified in singling out a few bizarre
poems and subjecting these to skeptical scrutiny” (Blackmur).

Reviews over Emily Dickinson differ in opinions. Some think she was a great
poet and some do not. R. P. Blackmur thinks she was a great poet and had her
own style of writing. “Passionate fortitude was hers, and this is the
greatest contribution her poetry makes to the reading world.”A
winged animal went down those walk”.

winged animal went down the walk” Toward Emily Dickinson will be a basic
sonnet. The ballad will be principally around a winged animal Furthermore a
mankind’s. In the initially and only the ballad those winged animal will be
consuming a worm. After that those winged animal notices those human What’s
more may be startled. The mankind’s mindfully provides for the winged animal a
few crumbs yet the winged animal fly far.

ballad appears to be altogether straightforward however it needs a huge
intending. A discriminating survey states “A winged animal went down the
stroll indicates the Unsettling influence initiated Eventually Tom’s perusing
mankind’s infringement on the reality about nature” (Lorcher). The winged
animal might have been precise substance consuming those worm before all else
of the ballad. Likewise it notices the human, it gets exact uncomfortable and
may be constrained will fly away in view it may be frightened. Those
discriminating survey Additionally states “Dickinson accomplishes those
complexity Regardless of the humorous perception that the winged animal On
nature, the delightful bird, commits those vicious act of gnawing a worm
clinched alongside half What’s more consuming it raw, while those terrifying of
the winged animal and the disturbance from claiming nature happens for those
gentle, thoughtful act for advertising those winged animal crumbs”


winged animal went down those walk” may be a basic ballad that might bring
more than particular case importance. It may be intriguing to perceive the
opposite implications in this poem, Furthermore it indicates the Innovativeness
about Emily Dickinson worth of effort Cited.

Michael Ryan perspectives,
 There is no information
in Emily Dickinson’s poems that separates her from us. Instead of merely
referring to the experience of the writer, the poem is made to be an
experience for the reader. He would like to have a fraction of her focus: the
most intense focus ever of any writer I know. She is a model of
devotion to the practice of poetry. Writing poems for her was
life-sustaining, even life-creating. It created the place in which she fully
experienced her experience.
popular was Emily Dickinson?
Harvey Pearce says, “Emily Dickinson is one of the most widely
read and well known American poets. Dickinson kept her writing, as well as
her writerly intentions, as simple as possible. She is simply and starkly
concerned with being herself and accommodating her view of the world to that
Did she make a living at
or did she wallow in poverty?
to Richard B Sewall’s, “Emily Dickinson gradually apart from
the world and spent much of her life confined in the family home. She helped
with all the work of a large 19th-century household, rising before dawn every
day to make the fires and prepare the family breakfast and looking after the
glasshouse and garden. With her sister Lavinia, she looks after their mother
in her final illness. Emily Dickinson had only a handful of poems published
during her lifetime. After her death she became an overnight sensation. Only
eight poems were published during her lifetime, the rest being circulated in
manuscript form among her friends and family.
impact did their poetry have? 
to sister lavinia of the Amherst Library “Dickinson’s poetry reflects her
loneliness and the speakers of her poems generally live in a state of want,
but her poems are also marked by the intimate recollection of inspirational
moments which are decidedly life-giving and suggest the possibility of
happiness. The people with whom she did come in contact, however, had an
enormous impact on her thoughts and poetry.”
to Esther
“Emily Dickinson contributed a great deal to the world of literature. With
the extra time being isolated in her room, gave her more than just time to
write and reflect. Dickinson had a unique perspective on life, death, love, nature, and
friendship. She didn’t need titles. Her lines spoke volumes”.
books were the most popular?
Poems Of Emily Dickinson (hardcover), by Emily Dickinson (Author), Mabel Loomis Todd (Editor), T.W. Higginson (Editor).  Poems: Second Series was published in 1891 and ran to
five editions bye 1893; a third series was published in 1895 of Dickinson’s

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