Dickinson Poetry

Choose one of the questions below to discuss in detail Dickinson’s poetry. Be sure to include textual support in your analysis, and do not use outside sources other than Dickinson’s own poems.

1. Dickinson frequently uses dashes in place of more standard punctuation like commas. How does this affect the readers’ understanding of the poems? How would the poems change with different punctuation?

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2. Dickinson does not write poems with the intent of moralizing or of teaching ethics as her contemporaries did. Do her poems make you think? What do they make you think about or why don’t they make you think?

3. Choose any poems assigned of Dickinson. Paraphrase the first two stanzas of the poem in your own language while retaining Dickinson’s meaning.

4. In “I Dwell in Possibility,” Dickinson sets up “possibility” as the opposite of “prose.” How does her poetry represent this idea of possibility? Using Dickinson’s metaphor of the house, what does she suggest when she says that poetry is “more numerous of windows, superior – for doors”?

5. In “I Heard a Fly Buzz”, Dickinson imagines the moment of her own death. What role does the fly play in this imagining? She writes “There interposed a Fly –/ With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –/ Between the light – and me.” What is her relationship to the fly?

6. Discuss Dickinson’s use of slant rhyme and her purpose in using it in one of the assigned poems

https://fod-infobase-com.ezjsrcc.vccs.edu:2443/p_ViewVideo.aspx?xtid=44852&loid=171225

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47652/because-i-could-not-stop-for-death-479

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45706/i-felt-a-funeral-in-my-brain-340

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45721/success-is-counted-sweetest-112

https://poets.org/poem/im-nobody-who-are-you-260

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45703/i-heard-a-fly-buzz-when-i-died-591

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52197/i-dwell-in-possibility-466. For more information on Dickinson Poetry check out : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74T8pNDBw8c&feature=youtu.be

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