Critcal essay on influences on Emily Dickinson's writings

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In this day and age, Emily Dickinson is deemed to be one of America's greatest poets. Her works are remarkably original, even by present standards. Her poems have captivated generations of readers, as she writes about a myriad of topics; from the lofty-love, emotion, death, immortality, to the more mundane-bees, trees, and domestic chores.


This essay's object is to identify the influences factors that have shaped her style and writing.
In Beth Marlay Doriani's Dickinson: Daughter of Prophecy, she cites Christianity in the nineteenth century patriarchal context as one of the great influences on Dickinson's works. In Dickinson's poems, her treatment of Christian ideals and religion in general are often paradoxical and conflicting. Doriani states: "Dickinson's vision can be at times very orthodox, radically Christian, often ethical, yet, alternately secular, abandoning Christian dogma and principles" (26). This can be explained by an understanding of Dickinson's projection of herself as an "inspired religious visionary", one that is often at odds with tradition (Doriani 26).
It is also suggested that her treatment of traditional Christian ideals is a form of defiance of the cultural circumstances she's in and that "she drew on her religious surroundings to achieve liberation within her own cultural context, patriarchal as that culture was" (Doriani 2).
Also, nineteenth century preachers were believed to have a notable influence in the formation of the "literary character" of their listeners (Doriani 47), and an influential ecclesiastical writer and preacher, Jonathan Edwards, who is also a family friend, is said to be indicative of Dickinson's internal convictions (Howe 47-48).
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