It was said in the article “The Conscious Self in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry” from The American Journal that Dickinson’s purpose in writing was not to simply write philosophical poetry but to identify and define the “Self” that attends the soul, as a point of view for comprehending experience and an instrument for controlling her art. Although the majority of the audience of Dickinson’s poetry concludes that the central idea is death, Dickinson is actually focusing on the entirety of the stages of life.
Throughout the vaults of Emily Dickinson’s contemporaries, there are a number of poems by Ms. Dickinson exploring the nature of the mind and the consciousness that have a special interest beyond their inherent worth. Dickinson aims to define the “Self” that attends the soul, rather than condemning the self to a dismal end of a bleak death. Dickinson’s poetry concerning death and immortality are not efforts to describe the grave and life beyond the grave rather, her poetry concerns the ultimate reality. When Dickinson writes about the “ultimate reality” she focuses on how each individual has the duty to live a fulfilling life, a life where each individual defines themselves as a person, and is capable of forming an original, personal thought. Charles R. Anderson of American Literature states in his article “The Conscious Self of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry”, “Dickinson defines the ‘Self’ in her poetry. It’s the ‘single-hound’ that attends the soul, as a point of view for comprehending experience and an instrument for controlling her art” (Anderson, 290). Anderson states that Dickinson’s work was a mechanism to develop and exercise one's “Self,” for when one defines who they are they can begin to think for themselves and form personal thoughts and opinions.
By thinking for oneself and developing coherent personal thoughts an individual is taking full advantage of their life on Earth, utilizing their own ultimate reality. Anderson quotes Dickinson in his article, “How do most people live without any thoughts. There are many people in the world (you must have noticed them in the streets). How do they get the strength to put on their clothes in the morning” (Anderson, 291). Dickinson believes that through personal and original mental development, individuals grow and gain motivation and initiative to wake up and conquer every day of their being. Ms. Dickinson could not imagine a life without personal development. She could not fathom a life where a mindless and thoughtless individual trudges through the streets without a thought to claim as their own.
At first glance an audience may perceive Dickinson’s poetry as death-obsessed, but when one takes a deeper look one will realize her work is focused on the ultimate reality. Readers may confuse her efforts as describing the grave and life beyond the grave but Dickinson is relishing in the reality of an individual’s lifetime. Although an individual’s intellectual span is cut short in an untimely manor by death, it is an individual’s duty to define who they are and form original personal thoughts in order to take full advantage of the precious life they were given.