Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

The Vision of Heaven in Emily Dickinson's Poetry

Emily Dickinson never became a member of the church although she lived in a typical New England Puritan community all her life. The well-known lines, "Some - keep the Sabbath - going to church - / I - keep it - staying at Home -" (P-236 [B]; J-324),1 suggest her defiance against the existing church and Christianity of her time in particular. And her manner of calling the Deity by such terms as "Burglar," "Banker" (P-39; J-49), and "a jealous God" (P-1752; J-1719) clearly discloses her antagonism against the Christian God. In fact, she insistently rejected being baptized even when her family members and intimate friends at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary had chosen to bow in faith before the Christian Lord. It is no exaggeration to say that Dickinson tried to deviate from the orthodox religious belief prevalent in the society she lived in.

Nevertheless, Dickinson was an avid reader of the Bible, and as Fordyce R. Bennett states in the preface to A Reference Guide to the Bible in Emily Dickinson's Poetry, "Dickinson found story and situation, syntax, symbolism and imagery, inspiration, and much more in the King James Bible" (xi). That is to say, no matter how much she felt...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1461 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10413 literature essays, 2634 sample college application essays, 532 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.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in