Movie Violence and Society
Movie Violence and Society
Emily Dickinson and Transcendentalism
America in the mid 1800’s saw quite a surge of new literary styles and works. New ideas and forms of writing and idea were being made and America was becoming more accepting to these new ways. During this time period, American society had entered its own era of enlightenment much like the renaissance. One author of this time period was New England Native, Emily Dickinson.
Dickinson’s work has fascinated and puzzled literary scholars for almost a century and half and leaves a few questions to be answered. Her work was mainly about events in her life and the time period in which she lived. Dickinson’s work has captivated readers for decades and if it wasn’t for events that happened in her life, her work would not have been as powerful as it was or even exist. So what happened to her to make her writing and style have such an impact on American writing? In order to understand Dickinson’s work, you need to first understand the style of work that she produced.
Dickinson’s work focuses on this idea of Transcendentalism. According to Dictionary.com, Transcendentalism is:
”A literary and philosophical movement, associated with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller, asserting the existence of an ideal spiritual reality that transcends the empirical and scientific and is knowable through intuition.” (Dictionary.com, Transcendentalism)
Transcendentalism in literary works has certain elements in order to meet the criteria:
Elements of Transcendentalism:
1.) Combines world of senses with a world beyond the senses
2.) Triumph of feeling/intuition over scientific reason
3.) Exaltation of individual over society
4.) Impatience of bondage to custom and habit
5.) Thrilling delight in nature
Other authors whose works also fall into this category are Ralph Waldo Emerson , Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau, all having their own styles of writing with this element.
Dickinson’s style to this day is unique. “ Readers may have problems with the appearance of the poems–with the fact that they are without titles; that they are often short and compact, compressed; that the dash is so often used in the place of traditional punctuation. Some readers will be put off by the grammatical elisions and ellipses, and some by the fact that the poems often do not quickly display a central, controlling metaphor or an easily identifiable narrative theme.” (MacIntosh, Hart, 1)
“Poetry, the Belle of Amherst knew, is that form of communication in which words are never simple equivalents of experience or perception. The words themselves, the words as words, have a life as sounds, as images, as the means for generating a series of associations.” (Casey, 1)
The easiest way to begin to understand transcendentalism to follow these basic guidelines to help you analyze and author’s work. ”Transcendentalists can be understood in one sense by their context — by what they were rebelling against, what they saw as the current situation and therefore as what they were trying to be different from.” (Lewis, pg.1)
“ One way to look at the Transcendentalists is to see them as a generation of well educated people who lived in the decades before the American Civil War and the national division that it both reflected and helped to create. These people, mostly New Englanders, mostly around Boston, were attempting to create a uniquely American body of literature.” (Lewis, 1)