The Dickinson Double Play

I was reading about Emily Dickinson online, and found a few tips on how to read her work, from Crash Course English Lit, and PBS NewsHour. The latter is partly biographical, in fact. I hope you enjoy them! Did you find anything new, or helpful, in either video?

3 Replies to “The Dickinson Double Play”

  1. I LOVE Crash Course! John Green is amazing. I really liked how he talked about Dickinson’s obsession with sight being key in many of her works… I think that this is especially interesting since many of us think of Dickinson as a woman who was removed from society and from the ability to really “see” things. But of course, we know that just because she was known for being a tad reclusive, that doesn’t mean she was unaware of what was going on in the world around her (I’m thinking of the Marcellin PDF on the Civil War in particular). Excellent finds!

  2. I found it pretty interesting that in Crash Course Lit, John Green posits that in her poem that we had read for the week “I heard a fly buzz when I died” he claims that Dickinson imagines death as a fly, so the fly is a metaphor for death. I did not interpret the poem in this particular manner and I am interested as to how you guys interpreted this poem, because although death is a clear theme and the speaker has placed a great importance on death, do you guys view the fly as a metaphor and/or symbol for death?

  3. I liked how in Crash Course Lit, John Green talks about the “waxing and waining” of Dickinson’s religious beliefs and how you can see that in her work. I never really thought about that, but then I started thinking about all the times I picked up on religious imagery and diction and how sometimes she would embrace these views, but other times she was working against them. I also found it really interesting how he talks about Dickinson and her white dress and how for her white did not mean purity and innocence, but rather, passion. Since we talked about Dickinson and her being always in white, I thought it was really cool to view white in that way since traditionally we now identify red as the color of passion.

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