How to Write an Essay on a Poem by Emily Dickinson

Writing guide
Posted on August 3, 2016

In our 10 facts on poems by Emily Dickinson for a college essay you came across interesting facts about the life and inspirations of Emily Dickinson. Your next concern was probably looking for a specific focus, so we provided you with 20 topics on poems by Emily Dickinson for a college essay. There was also a sample essay at the end of that guide, if you recall. Now that you’ve finalized the topic your research material, let’s discuss the actual essay.

Just like every other academic essay, if you’re willing to write one on the poems of Emily Dickinson, then it would also need a thesis. The main idea behind such an essay should be summarizing the thought process of Ms. Dickinson so that your readers can understand the true meaning of her poems.

Poetry Essay – Understanding the What

Essays about poetry revolve around understanding the thought process of a poet. This analysis could be about one poem or a collection, since we’ve covered Ms. Dickinson’s entire life, you can choose a topic more broadly.

Thesis Statement

Every poem has its own meaning behind it and it doesn’t matter how straightforward they are, because we all have different interpretations. Ms. Dickinson’s work had a lot of layers, hence it’s very much possible that interpretations of different people may not be similar. There are three important questions that you need to ask yourself in order to make the perfect thesis statement:

  1. What is the poem is about and why was it written this way?
  2. Why did Ms. Dickinson choose to go with particular words and metaphors in her work?
  3. What is the desired effect that Ms. Dickinson wanted to achieve?

Connecting the Thesis to the Outline

Answer the questions above and you’ll be able to write a good thesis. Your essay from here onwards should be about your own arguments. The thesis, however, needs to be specific; your statement needs to resonate with the thought process of Emily Dickinson and your arguments should not only support your interpretations, but also prove them.

The Outline

Break your essay into three parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Argument
  3. Conclusion

The introduction kicks off your essay and this is where you give your statement thesis and define the boundaries of your essay. The second portion, arguments, should be roughly between 3 to 5 paragraphs and every paragraph should be convincing and supportive to your arguments. Ms. Emily is a well-researched poet of American literature and there are a lot of books available on her poetic themes; go through them and discuss the themes in your own words in the arguments section. Finally, the conclusion portion should conclude the essay by knitting together the introduction and the arguments.

There you have it, this was the final guide in our long list of guides. You are now fully equipped to write a compelling essay on poems by Emily Dickinson. We wish you the best!

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