Abnormal Punctuation In Emily Dickinson’s Poetry Essay

The great Emily Dickinson is known for her inquisitive and powerful poems, but what made her poems so notable? Emily lived a simple life, mostly secluded, so why would some simple poems change how people thought about such difficult subjects? The answers are in her style of writing. Her seclusion allowed her to “meditate on life and death” and write about such controversial themes and topics that are still being discussed today (Allen 546). Her ability to highlight important words or phrases or cause a short pause or accentuate a certain phrase cause people reading her work to entirely stop and think about what they had just read. Emily Dickinson’s style, involving odd punctuation, unusual capitalization, and meticulous figurative language,…

One of her most predominant punctuations is her famous dash. This dash was mainly used to cause the reader to take a breath and create a pause, emphasizing the importance of what was just said. A pause is what causes people, as readers, to ponder the effect and deeper meaning of the line or phrase. That is, in fact, the whole point of Dickinson’s poetry: to convey her opinion on difficult subjects, and what better way to convey one’s opinion than to let others create their own? Sandra McChesney states in her critique of Emily Dickinson’s poems “that Dickinson’s use or lack of punctuation was a conscious construction central to her work” (McChesney 16). This is indeed true as one might read a poem with many commas, semicolons, and dashes; they would obliviously pause more often as a singer would take a breath. However, she would use very little punctuation. In such poems, this was probably to a more careful word choice. “Dickinson chose words with great deliberation, skewing grammar to fit design” (McChesney 16). Therefore, her use of certain types of punctuation always depended on her word choice and the overall theme of that certain piece. Also, Emily Dickinson’s poems were written to imitate the “rhythms of church hymns” (Allen 547). In turn, the punctuation had to make the reader feel as though they were reading a hymn. This displays religion’s importance in Dickinson’s life. Though she may have not been completely Christian, she still searched for some sort of revelation or epiphany in her own spiritual life. Emily Dickinson’s need to affect how one would read her poems shaped how she would input her…