Todd's garden' (Jewett, 1896 ). Like the herbs, Mrs. Todd exhibits an aptitude for dealing with things such as love - as shown by her affection towards William's bride- and loss- shown by her grief and compassion over the death of a contemporary.
The poem by Emily Dickinson too, is strewn with an intimate connection. As the poem goes, "I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea; Yet know I how the heather looks and what a wave must be. I never spoke with God, nor visited in heaven; Yet certain am I of the spot as if the chart were given" (Dickinson, 1755). Jewett and Dickinson relays the same message of faith but from different perspectives- Jewett for interpersonal relationship and Dickinson for our relationship with God. Yet if we are to analyze the passage of Dickinson, "To lose one's faith surpasses the loss of an estate, because estates can be replenished, faith cannot" (Dickinson, 1755), we can take the meaning of faith not only to God but to others as well since a poem is generally figurative and is open to different interpretations. With this we can now establish a clear cut connection between the two literary works and that is summarized by the heading of this part of the discussion.
The novel permeates the atmosphere of gloominess and death which constitutes its central focus. Most of the inhabitants of Dunnet Landing that were encountered by the narrator belonged to the last stages of life - sixty years old and above. Besides from this characterization, the setting is an old town where nothing consequential and interesting happens. As Captain Littlepage puts it, the 'community narrows down and grows dreadful ignorant as it is shut up to its own affairs, and gets no knowledge of the outside world except from a cheap, unprincipled newspaper" (Jewett, 1896). In other words, Dunnet Landing is a sleepy town which will soon experience an inevitable death.
The same is true for the poem where the character says 'good- by to the life' he used to live, and 'the world' he used to know. He bade goodbye by 'kissing the hills' and exclaimed that now he is 'ready to go'. This may be interpreted as a farewell to life and the acceptance of death. In fact the whole poem exudes the atmosphere of a life that will inevitably experience a 'downhill end' (Dickinson, 1755).
However, the Dunnet inhabitants do not necessarily see the stagnation of their community as something leading to death. In fact, they prefer that old practices be retained. Mrs. Todd, while reflecting on the times when seafaring flourished and the olden days, states that 'there was more energy then' as compared to the current condition of Dunnet where developments have started to make the setting a city (Jewett, 64). The inhabitants prefer the rural life over the urban which may very well states that they prefer the 'deadening' of their community as the character in the poem bravely states that he is not the one to be afraid of death.
The Impermanence of the Way We Live
At the end of the novel, we find the character cherishing the experience of coming to Dunnet. The character wished to have one of his first weeks back again, 'with those long hours when nothing happened except the growth of herbs and the course of the sun'. Yet as the old adage goes, 'nothing is permanent', and this applies to