Trauma in Emily Dickinson's Poetry

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Trauma in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry Throughout Emily Dickinson’s poems, traumatic experiences constitute a main subject matter, which usually associates with other themes such as religion, death, bereavement, etc. In this essay, I will first inquire into what causes such traumatic experiences. In the poems under analysis, the traumatic experiences are mainly concerned with bereavement and religion, both of which can be further interpreted as “figurative loss.” Having discussed the causes of trauma, I will proceed to survey how the poet represents her traumatic experience and posttraumatic reactions. I will point out that the representation of traumatic experiences can be seen always already as posttraumatic accounts. And through such posttraumatic performance the traumatized persona “I” can (never) be situated in a new location. I. Many biographers of Emily Dickinson, having surveyed her letters and poems, discovered that Dickinson during her life time suffered severely from losses of her family members. Therefore, some critics see these crucial events as the fountain spring for some of her poems. Though this may be the case, however, in discussing poetry as literature, we should avoid overtly biographizing or psychologizing these works. Also, we should be cautious that the creative persona “I” may not be necessarily recognized as the poet herself. Northrop Frye once suggests that “we shall find Emily Dickinson most rewarding if we look in her poems for what her imagination has created, nor for what event may have suggested it.” (qtd. in Kher: 3) There are many poems to do with her feelings of being bereaved such as “I never lost as much but twice” (J 49), “After great pain, a formal feeling comes –” (J 341), “My Life closed twice before its close” (J 1732). In these poems, the lost object is never identified but only the feeling of lost is implied in the
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