Discuss the ways belonging or not belonging can shape our sense of self and identity.
Within Emily Dickinson’s poems ‘This is my Letter to the World’ and ‘I died for Beauty-but was scarce’, Curtis Sittenfeld’s 2005 novel ‘Prep’ and J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye’, the composers represent the individual’s experience of belonging or not belonging. Our perception of belonging emerges from personal and social contexts, as well as our sense of self and identity. The potential of the individual to enrich society is shaped by notions of acceptance and understanding, whereas alienation from society, either by deliberate choice or preventative barriers, can be detrimental to one’s identity. This can be seen through challenges to society. Dickinson conveys her exclusion from human society through capitalisation in ‘This is my Letter to the World’ and inclusive terms in ‘I died for Beauty-but was scarce’. Dickinson’s segregation is deliberate, however, demonstrating her independence as she challenges the standards of Victorian society. Her poetry also explores the enrichment associated with a sense of belonging, as Dickinson feels at one with nature. This connection is represented to the audience with personification in This is my Letter to the World’ and imagery in ‘I died for Beauty-but was scarce’. Similarly, Sittenfeld uses rhetorical questions in ‘Prep’ to emphasise the alienation of the central character, Lee Fiora. Lee refuses to conform to the expectations of her school community, which creates a barrier that prevents belonging, reflecting Sittenfeld’s subversion of contemporary societal expectations and values. Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ also parallels Dickinson’s poetry in that his novel represents a sense of belonging to nature. This connection demonstrates the potential of the individual to enrich their community and is depicted through Salinger’s diction choice. Therefore, the three composers depict the individual’s perceptions of belonging and not belonging to the responder.
The Essay on The Effects That Society Has On Individuals Are Negative
Society is, by definition, a group of people who live in the same area who tend to follow the same standards. Society influences people to follow their expectations, because it is thought of as the right way to live. Due to this influence, society has a negative impact on the individuals who are a part of it. Society forces conformity on others, has individuals acting selfish, and lowers self- ...
Dickinson experienced a sense of exclusion from her fellow “countrymen” to the extent where she no longer valued any human relationship. Reclusive, she lost contact with society and the “sense of belonging that can emerge from connections made with people, places, groups and the larger world”. This is apparent in the unconventional structure of her poetry, including ‘This is my Letter to the World’. Dickinson’s capitalisation is deliberately ambiguous in lines, such as, “the World That never wrote to Me”. The capitalisation of “World” has multiple meanings for the responder as Dickinson could be referring to the vast natural world or her narrow human society. She repeatedly emphasises the importance of “Me” in the final line: “Judge tenderly – of Me”. Subverting traditional syntax, Dickinson challenged the social restrictions of Victorian context. A petulant tone is sustained throughout to reinforce Dickinson’s strong and belief in belonging to oneself. Dickinson positions her audience so that the only way they can belong in Dickinson’s poetry is if they judge her tenderly.
Even though Dickinson rejects her nineteenth century society, ‘I died for Beauty-but was scarce’ depicts a close connection between two personas. The relationship shared between the personas is mirrored by the entwining concepts of Truth and Beauty. The two concepts share an identity as “Themself are One-”, which highlights the sense of belonging to another individual. This unity is conveyed to the audience through Dickinson’s use of collective terms. The use of the “we” in “We Brethren are”, for example, symbolises the everlasting brotherhood of Truth and Beauty, though they have metaphorically “met a Night-”. The strength of this relationship is emphasised in lines such as “we talked between rooms”, which portrays the barriers in society that prevent belonging. The repetition of inclusive terms also provides the responder with a sense of belonging to the text, which creates a stronger sense of empathy for Dickinson’s poetry. Dickinson is able to comment on the potential of an individual to enrich a community through the selfless sacrifices, “One who died for Truth” and the other “for Beauty”, made in the poem.
The Essay on Poetry Analysis for Emily Dickinson “Nature”
Emily Dickinson "Nature" is what we see— The Hill—the Afternoon— Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee— Nay—Nature is Heaven— Nature is what we hear— The Bobolink—the Sea— Thunder—the Cricket— Nay—Nature is Harmony— Nature is what we know— Yet have no art to say— So impotent Our Wisdom is To her Simplicity. In the poem the reader can see her love to nature. The theme of the poem is nature's simplicity, ...
Similar to Dickinson’s poetry, Curtis Sittenfeld represents a sense of exclusion from society through the persona of ‘Prep’. The novel’s modern teenage protagonist, Lee Fiora, is disconnected from her peers much like Dickinson. Lee has to earn the acceptance of those within her school community at Ault Academy, realising “how much work Ault would be for me”. Lee is uncertain of her own sense of self and identity so she was “always worried someone would notice me, and then when no one did, I felt lonely.” Sittenfeld employs first-person narration to create Lee’s authentic teenage ‘voice’ and expose her insecurities as a barrier to belonging. This honesty provides the reader with a sense of trust and involvement in the text. Sittenfeld also includes the audience with rhetorical questions. Lee refuses to conform to the expectations of her school by admitting “I was unwilling to humour her….Wasn’t she a little old to believe that a person could transform her outlook in the span of ten minutes?” This question reveals the hidden strength in Lee, who deliberately chooses not to belong. Through her characters, Sittenfeld is able to illustrate the potential of an individual to challenge their contemporary community standards.
Contrasting her deliberate choice not to belonging to human society, Dickinson identifies with the wider natural world. Dickinson disregards the strict rule of social convention that existed during her context, which exemplifies the strength of her character, and instead she reveres nature’s almighty power in ‘This is my letter to the World’. Dickinson conveys her respect for the “tender Majesty” of nature through diction. The specific word choice of “tender”, for example, connotes caring, nurturing and maternal qualities. The feminine portrayal of nature is furthered by Dickinson’s personification. She explicitly personifies nature as female with “Her Message is committed”, using capitals to emphasise the significance of the gender-specific identity. By providing nature with feminine and humanistic features, Dickinson is able to portray the communal compassion and devotion of nature to the audience. Dickinson manipulates her audience to accept that belonging to nature can enrich the individual.
The Term Paper on Was Emily Dickinson leading an isolated life?
Emily Dickinson was acclaimed as one of the greatest poets of the nineteenth century. She got popularity only after her death when her sister found her poems and got them printed. In the later part of her life, people began to call her a mythical figure as she became the most isolated person and used to stay most of the time in the confines of her home. But was she really a recluse as was made out ...
Similarly, this connection to nature is placed above all else in Dickinson’s poem ‘I died for Beauty-but was scarce’. Whilst the personas of the poem, Truth and Beauty, fail an attempt at immortality, life slowly dies “Until the Moss had reached our lips”. With the identities of the personas concealed, the only living element of the poem that remains is nature. The remaining natural imagery, however, is notably dark, dank and threatening. Consequently, the audience is provided with a sense of irony as the warmth of Truth and Beauty has been “covered up” by the coldness of nature. This subtle wit of Dickinson shows the audience the ultimate and inescapable power of nature. In ‘I died for Beauty-but was scarce’, Dickinson shows how mankind will be reduced to the natural world, even if they oppose and disregard this connection during their lifetime. This comment typifies Dickinson’s ‘radical’ values and beliefs, challenging the accepted community standards of her day.
Salinger, like Dickinson, presents nature as a critical concern in his 1951 novel ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. Salinger’s central character, Holden Caulfield, consciously chooses to disconnect with “phony” human society. He desperately attempts to escape the restrictions enforced by mid-twentieth century America, an individualist value derived from Thoreau, demonstrating the capacity of the individual to subvert social standards. Holden threatens to leave New York City and resort back to nature by “[staying] in these cabin camps”. He continues “I could chop all our own wood in the winter-time and all…we could have a terrific time!” An excited tone is developed in the exclamation through diction with positive connotations, including “terrific”, allowing Salinger to represent Holden’s positive perception of nature. Salinger uses inclusive terms, such as “our” and we”, which includes the reader and forces them to identify with his characters. Salinger manipulates his audience by endearing them to the natural world.
The Essay on Emily Dickinson comparison of Poems
In 1859 Emily Dickinson wrote a poem about death. In 1861 she rewrote that poem with very different imagery making it a lot darker. The poem itself is rather short, only two stanzas. The first stanza is only changed by one word, though its meaning is significant. The second stanza however changes completely, from light and spring like to dark and wintery. There is also significant change in ...
Ultimately, the three composers highlight the importance of identity and its influence on notions of belonging within their texts. The use of poetic devices in Dickinson’s poems ‘This is my Letter to the World’ and ‘I Died for Beauty’ as well as narrative techniques in Sittenfeld’s ‘Prep’ and Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ conveys both positive and negative experiences of belonging. Overall, an individual’s sense of self and identity is paramount to their feelings of inclusion and exclusion from society.