Emily Dickenson, throughout her life, sought a personal understanding of God and his place within her life. Her place within the Calvinist Puritan Amherst, however, would not allow for her inquiry into the understanding of the nature of God other than within their specific doctrine. Dickinson’s poetry is a window into her quest for this religious understanding. In her poem There is no Frigate like a Book Dickinson concentrates on nature and its relativity to science; ‘How frugal is the Chariot/ That bears the Human soul’ (Dickinson line 7-8), I think this is an allusion to the Calvinist ideal of seeking God through action. Dickinson felt that the actions of the church that surrounded her were hollow and led one no closer to understanding the true nature of God than she had attained in her poetic questionings. Thus, the Chariot is a symbol of purity in simple form.
Also, in the beginning of the poem, Dickinson makes a comparison between a frigate and a book and how a frigate, or a warship is no match for a book. The book in question could be any number of books that Dickinson would read but in the context of this poem she is referring to the Bible. It would seem then that although the frigate is a safe form of protection and defense it is in now way matched to the Bible which takes the human soul to heaven in a more protective and defensive manner. She makes many references to travel in this poem both metaphysical and formal means; the bible which is a free ride and a toll which one has to pay to cross. Thus, the final acquisition of the poem is in reference to a frugal Chariot. This means that the Bible is the Chariot, in which souls are brought to heaven who only have to pay the price of faith.
In this poem, Dickinson centers on the physicality of the world as opposed to the celestial world. Within this poem Dickinson tells the reader that the deification of the man made warship also distract from one's understanding of God. The questions and the belief structure raised by Emily Dickenson within her poetry, echoes the problems that