Literature Essay: “Emily Dickinson’s Poems” – 20 Topic Ideas to Disclose

Topics and ideas
Posted on August 3, 2016

Our previous guide had stated a lot of interesting facts about the life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most renowned poet and writer, and what factors affected her work. By now we believe that you’ll have enough information to dig into books and look for great topics.

For your convenience and know-how, here are 20 topics on poems by Emily Dickinson for a college essay:

  1. Gifts of Benjamin Franklin Newton to Emily Dickinson
  2. Role of Susan Gilbert in Emily Dickinson Poetry
  3. Emily Dickinson’s Contribution to the Category of Gospel Poems
  4. How Did Emily Dickinson Teenage Life Affect Her Earlier Work?
  5. The Mystery of “The Master Letters” by Emily Dickinson
  6. Was Emily Dickinson Religious and Did This Play a Role in Her Work?
  7. The Symbolic Importance of Flowers and Gardens in Emily Dickinson’s Work
  8. Did the Romantic Master Poems Refer to Actual Persons?
  9. Emily Dickinson’s Contribution to Feminism
  10. The Relationship Between Emily’s Mother’s Illness and Her Dedication to Writing Poetry
  11. Why Did Emily Dickinson Make Her Sister Promise to Burn Her Papers?
  12. The Interaction Between Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Emily Dickinson
  13. Emily Dickinson’s Fascination with Death and Illness
  14. Was the Relationship Between Emily Dickinson and Benjamin Franklin Newton Productive for Emily’s Writing?
  15. The Journey of Emily Dickinson Writing Her Manuscript and 800 Poems from 1858 to 1865
  16. The Springfield Republican Publication of Emily Dickinson’s Work
  17. Effects Of Emily Dickinson’s Sexuality on Her Poems
  18. Emily Dickinson’s Descent into Depression
  19. Emily Dickinson and the Undiscovered Continent
  20. Lack of Poems in the Year 1866 and the Reasons Behind it

Emily Dickinson paved the road for several poets, especially female ones. Although she wasn’t appreciated as an author during her life, doubted by several of her peers, she gained all her fame after death, when her sister found hundreds of letters and poems. Throughout her life Emily opted to be secluded instead of being hungry for publication and fame.

Our previous guide 10 facts on poems by Emily Dickinson for a college essay gives you plenty of concrete information on the Poems by Emily Dickinson. Now we have given you 20 interesting topics from which you can choose one to write a highly informative and impressive college essay. Our aim is to help you focus on one aspect of the Emily’s life, because there were several incidents including certain people and loses which influenced her writing style over the years. But we aren’t just going to help you with the basics and leave you high and dry; the next guide how to write an essay on a poem by Emily Dickinson will have pointers to help you get started.

Here is a sample essay on one of the topics mentioned above. By reading the essay below you’ll know how to research your college essay on poems by Emily Dickinson. We wish you all the best and if you have any queries, do drop us an email.

Sample Essay: The Interaction Between Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Emily Dickinson

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, an ex-minister, a critic of literature and a radical abolitionist, wrote a column for The Atlantic Monthly titled “Letter to a Young Contributor”. In this column, Mr. Higginson spoke in reference to upcoming writers looking to make a name for themselves and urged them to “Charge Your Style with Life”. He offered them professional advice so that they could catch their big break. This caught the eye of Emily Dickinson.

Ms. Dickinson decided to establish contact with Higginson in 1862 as she was contemplating publication. She understood that it was becoming increasingly difficult just writing poetry without readership, and more generally speaking, an audience. Dickinson reached out to Higginson in order to seek guidance she sent him a beautiful letter which goes by the name “My Verse Is Alive”.

The letter is considered to be a theatrical display of Dickinson’s talents. Although she didn’t sign it, she did write her name on the letter and sent it to Higginson with a gift of four poems. Mr. Higginson was unaware about the publication history of Dickinson, which is  why after appreciating her talents and telling her how impressed he was with it, he told her to write a little more before seeking publication.

Ms. Dickinson replied in the humblest of fashion; instead of showing anger and resentment for not appreciating her talent, she told him that the fame of being published was an absolute foreign element to her. Though she did mention that if she was destined to be famous, then she wouldn’t try running away from it. In her letters, she displayed her literary prowess through dramatization and mystery. She told him about her preference of solitude, expressing how she found solace in the company of hills, the sunrise and her pet dog Carlo. She explained to him that her mother didn’t approve of her aspirations and her father was a little supportive because he brought her books, even though he feared that too much reading might plunge her into depression.

Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson became good friends. Dickinson referred to Higginson as “Dear Friend” in her letters while signing them off with “Your Scholar”. The interactions between the two were a morale boost for Dickinson, which certainly reflected in her work as well. She went as far as claiming that Higginson saved her life back in 1862. Both of them remained excellent friends till Emily’s untimely death, though Emily never asked for a publication favor.  Despite this being unnerving for Higginson, he never pushed her to go ahead with a project.

Several critics, including the famous Edmund Wilson, claimed that if Emily had any interest in being published, she would have done so in a heartbeat. It was only after Emily Dickinson’s death that her work emerged and she became a symbolic icon in America’s literary history. That’s how the interaction between Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Emily Dickinson affected her work.

Juhasz, S. (1983). Feminist critics read Emily Dickinson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Gordon, L. (2010). Lives like loaded guns: Emily Dickinson and her family’s feuds. New York: Viking.
Mitchell, D., & Stuart, M. (2009). The international reception of Emily Dickinson. London: Continuum.
Martin, W. (2002). The Cambridge companion to Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Dickinson, E., & Franklin, R. W. (1998). The Master letters of Emily Dickinson. Amherst, MA: Amherst College Press.
Farr, J. (1996). Emily Dickinson: A collection of critical essays. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Farr, J., & Carter, L. (2004). The gardens of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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