Belonging Essay

474 WordsNov 26, 20082 Pages
Throughout her poetry Dickinson has suggested a sense of her belonging to the world of nature; in “I had been hungry” she shares “nature’s dining room” and in “This is my letter” she receives “news” from nature. Her connection to nature would seem to supersede any connection to the human world. However, it is in “What mystery pervades a well!” that the poet most explicitly addresses this connectedness to nature. This poem deals with the “mystery” associated with belonging and nature. Dickinson expresses a sense of closeness to nature which is balanced, typically in her poetry, with a paradoxical distance. The water in the well, symbolic of life and nature, is a “neighbour from another world”, indicating both a connection and a distance. Nature inspires a desire to belong while at the same time, paradoxically, inspiring a sense of awe and timidity. Dickinson relates herself to the personified grass, implying a sense of connectedness, while contrasting her “awe” with the grass which “does not appear afraid” as it looks into the heart of nature and life, The “mystery” of life includes belonging but also that which is disturbing and frightening. Dickinson’s metaphors, “her haunted house” and “her ghost”, emphasize that there is a risk to belonging, connecting to nature and life. Nature is awesome; it has no “limit” and is “floorless”, a pun suggesting the perfection of nature. Dickinson’s representation of the water of the well “residing in a jar” parallels the seclusion of the poet herself. The water’s “jar” is bottomless; does this also apply to Dickinson? Is she suggesting that her seclusion is not as absolute as it might appear? Perhaps her poetry provides her with an implied connection to the world outside her “jar”. The prevalence of personification in her representation of those aspects of nature to which he feels connection could be used to suggest that we

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