College Essay Examples


Understanding Emily’s Life’s Eternity


Most poets prefer the use of various styles and stylistic devises while compiling their poems in such a manner that the poems become great works of literature. A properly defined poem would automatically rise to the forefront of the literature world for many years following the time of its release. Among the renowned poets is Emily Dickinson, who used metaphors of the sea and, at times, boats to bring her poems to life. Dickinson’s use of the sea as a metaphor also helped establish her in the literary world. Her style and the literary devices used also help to depict her personality and the environment that surrounded her. Along with other stylistic elements, she has exploited the metaphor to become a well-renowned literary figure. The way in which the poet applies metaphors to bring out the theme of her poems is clearly analyzed in this paper. The author uses the sea, boats, Eden and even books to represent various life factors; including love, hope, death and eternity.[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

Love is a great concept that every human being yearns to have for eternity. This explains why most people cannot live without it, while others go to extreme measures of taking their lives or harming their partners when love goes sour. This concept is emphasized by Emily Dickinson in many of her poems. Though the poems seem to highlight the fantasies of the sea, she literarily depicts love and its captivating aspects: “On this wondrous sea,/Sailing silently,/Knowest thou the shore/Ho! pilot, ho!” (Dickinson, 1-4). Along with the captivation of love, Dickinson depicts the sometimes tumultuous nature of love. For instance, her poem entails how her river runs to the blue sea and she hopes that the sea (her lover) will welcome the river (herself): “My river runs to thee:/Blue sea, wilt welcome me?” (Dickinson, 1-2). The poet uses the metaphor of the sea as the means of travel that takes people to various destinies of love, hope opportunities, and human destination during eternal life. The sea is a vital concept in the life of the poet because it tends to push her into fantasies of love and sexuality. This is seen when the poet addresses the sea as if it is a love partner who takes her and she sinks into his love. Thus, the sea represents a lover who welcomes her and she hopes will love her unconditionally; an aspect that is seen when she tells the sea: “say, sea, take me!” (Dickinson 7-8). Thus, love is a craving of fantasy that seems to quench the desires of love and sexuality of the poet. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

In a different poem, Dickinson depicts the mutable nature of love and sex: “Wild nights! Wild nights!/Were I with thee,/ Wild nights should be/ Our luxury!” (Dickinson 1-4) Here, she shows her desire to be in a loving relationship, both wild and luxurious in its commitment.. In the second stanza of part one, the poet uses the sea again to represent how she sank into sexual fantasies and pleasure during the wild night. She compares the experience of sailing in the sea of fantasy with a row in Eden: “Rowing in Eden!/ Ah! the sea!” (Dickinson, 9-10) Therefore, love and sex life is a crucial need in every society and the poet brings its fantasies in a different mood and perspective to the reader.

The metaphors of the wild nights and the row in Eden depict the outcome of love, which are sexual pleasures that can only be compared to rowing in Eden. In addition, the sea and garden is used as a metaphor that symbolizes hope where the poet could find joy and freedom. This is because these two places separated her from the world and it resisted the hope of crossing. In the second stanza of this poem, Dickinson writes: “Futile the winds/To a heart in port.” (Dickinson, 5-6) She declares that she is “Done with the compass,/Done with the chart.” (Dickinson 7-8). In this stanza, she is saying that love defies navigation. Rather, she will throw out the tools and simply row.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]

In stanza 3 the author creates a juxtaposition between sexual fantasy and biblical references:
“Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the Sea!
Might I but moor
To-night – In thee!” (Dickinson, 9-12)

Thus, her sinking into the sea or rowing in Eden seemed to allow her to find solace in the shortcomings of the society. Dickinson, coming from Puritanical America, uses many religious metaphors in her poems. In this case, she is calling up Eden in place of paradise. What makes this particularly interesting is the sexual image at the end of the poem. When she writes: “Might I but moor/Tonight in thee!” (Dickinson, 11-12) The symbolism of Eden brings to mind her more religious works, yet she surprises the reader by ending the poem on such a boldly sexual note. For this reason, the sea is a metaphor that represents love through which the poet sinks into or rows in throughout the hard life. Therefore, with love filling the mind, body and soul, Dickinson imagines nights with her lover to be an endless row in Eden. We know this is a fantasy not only because the yearning is palpable, but because Dickinson uses the word “might.” This illustrates that she is writing about a fantasy rather than an actual event. Love and romance in poetry is a significant concept that most literary works encompass. Most poets such as Shakespeare have presented various literatures that entail love and romance in the Victorian era. This is because love, sexuality and romance were a vital concept that was embraced by the ancient society since it laid out foundations of families.

Prior to love, hope and death, the author also uses the sea as a metaphor that symbolizes life as a journey and how the boat sails is determined by the effort of the sailor. This is the reason why the poet still brings in the metaphor of the brook as a relieving aspect that puts the journey to the end by taking the sailors into a land of the unknown. This is obvious in poem beginning “The Sea Said ‘Come’ To the Brook”. An outside poem by Dickinson, the first line in stanza one says “The Sea said ‘Come’ to the Brook/ The Brook said ‘Let me grow’”. (Dickinson 1-2) Therefore, the sails or journeys come to an end when people die and their souls rest in eternal peace. As much as the sea is a journey that encompasses aspects such as fantasies of love and pleasures of sexuality, it also represents the journey that human beings undertake in their entire life time. In this poem, Dickinson depicts the need for change in life and the reluctance that is sometimes felt. The sea commands the brook, yet the brook expresses its autonomy. This is factual because the poet encompasses various other concepts of life in her poems that include sexuality, love, family values, social cohesion and death and eternity to depict how the row in the sea is a complex sail.

The end of human life is inevitable. After the long journey that is filled with storms and calmness, death comes in as the aspect that puts the souls of people to rest. Death and man’s end of life are also a significant aspects that Dickinson addresses often. This is seen in the poem, beginning “On this wondrous sea” in the seventh line where she refers to the destiny of man’s soul: “In the silent west/ Many sails at rest” (Dickinson 7-8). Her literary works further drove her to reflect into the nature of man and what the future life entails. This is why the author applies the metaphor of pilot to signify death, where death becomes the pilot that leads human souls into eternity where there is no disturbance but eternal peace. This is seen in same poem in the first line of the first stanza where the poet claims that “On this wondrous sea/ Sailing silently, / Knowest thou the shore/ Ho! pilot, ho!”. (Dickinson, 1-4) Thus, the author tries to analyze death in a different angle which is why she applied different moods, feelings and situations. Here, Dickinson creates a mood of tension. She is sailing on a sea that is quiet, yet she does not know her destination.


Along with the sea, books are also used by Dickinson as a metaphor for something that takes us to far lands. Therefore, the brook signifies a device that takes human souls into unknown lands. Like a boat or the sea, a book can provide a sense of escape. Dickinson writes: “This traverse may the poorest take/Without oppress of toll;” (Dickinson 5-6) Here she is expressing her joy in the knowledge that a journey taken by book is essentially free. The book, here illustrated as a frigate, takes the reader to new places, freeing them of the constraints of their world. Dickinson once again is focusing on escape and travel, through a strongly drawn metaphor of sailing.

When Emily Dickinson was writing, America and its fledgling society was largely untamed. There was, culturally, more focus on the future of the soul of man. This was contributed by her roots in Puritanism; a religion that allowed her to see God’s manifestation in every nature. This stirred her interest and influenced her works, along with her pursuit of personal significance in nature and the aftermath of man’s eternity. This is the reason the poet delves into eternity as the destiny of every soul. The immortality as the core concept desired by the poet is seen in the poem the begins “Exultation is the going.” When she claims that “past the houses, past the headlands into deep eternity” (Dickinson 3-4) she illustrates her belief that the end of the journey is the afterlife. Here the poet seems to offer an over-view of the survival of the soul. Therefore, her roots in Puritanism allowed her to reflect on the afterlife of man.

All the presented metaphors depict the authors aim of bringing in the imagery of various aspects of life that include love life, the journey of live, death and eternity. This is because she brings in various in-depth concepts that allow readers to understand poetry and its dynamics as well as the viewpoint of the poet. This is especially true when one considers that Emily Dickinson lived in an era when New England was far from development. This is seen from the manner in which she represents her poetry since she tries to paint the social aspects that existed in her time. Most historians assert that she lived a quite life but her other side of life is seen from her poems. Thus, her outstanding work is seen in her poems that entail vast aspects of life that include love live, the hardship and struggles of life, spirituality, death and afterlife. This is why her literary work is greatly recognized by the past and present generations not only due to presentation of social aspects but also because of her outstanding application of literature concepts.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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