Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems
Emily Dickinson's Quest for Eternity
Over the past few decades, a considerable number of comments have been made on the idea of eternity in Emily Dickinson's poetry. The following are several examples: Robert Weisbuch's Emily Dickinson's Poetry (1975), Jane Donahue Eberwein's Dickinson: Strategies of Limitation (1985), Dorothy Huff Oberhaus' Emily Dickinson's Fascicles: Method and Meaning (1995), and James McIntosh's Nimble Believing: Dickinson and the Unknown (2000). However, opinions vary as to how Dickinson explored the question regarding eternity; much ink has still been spent on the issue. This paper, therefore, provides another discussion of the idea of eternity depicted in Dickinson's poetry. I will discuss the issue by considering how her poems describe the process through which the poet finally reaches the belief in eternity-overcoming the feud between Christianity and scientific knowledge and that between Romanticism and existentialism.
As a beginning, let us look closely at one of the poems in which Dickinson gives a detailed account of a deathbed scene: The last Night that She lived
It was a Common Night
Except the Dying-this to Us
Made Nature different
We noticed smallest things-
Things overlooked before
By this great light...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 849 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6397 literature essays, 1755 sample college application essays, 259 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in