How does Dickinson mock puritan values in her poems?

Authors Avatar

 Dickinson poetry is a concentrated attack on the customs and rituals of puritan society. With reference to 'the world is not conclusion' and other poems, discuss whether you agree with this statement.

Dickinson poem 'the world is not conclusion' does not reflect a concentrated attack however she does mock puritanism and undermine its values, although she is a religious catholic Christian herself she feels that people do not understand religion like she does and that they are trying understand something which they never will. She conveys in the poem that there is an afterlife and how it undiscovered 's you have to go through it to know, suggests that she has experienced death. mentions themes of puritanism and death in this poem, similar themes are discussed in 'I felt a funeral in my brain' and 'There's a certain slant of light'.

Dickinson starts poem 501 with the lines 'This world is not Conclusion.' this line shows that Dickinson is certain that there is afterlife, this line also shows confidence in the speakers tone suggesting that maybe Dickinson has experienced this to be so certain. This line is paradoxical since since in this line she is suggesting that there is an afterlife however she ends the sentence with a full stop, implying a stop or end to something. The word conclusion stands out in this line since it starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop. This gives the word 'conclusion' emphasises and shows its importance. This line shows religious connotations since it is related to death. It neither mocks or supports puritanism however it just highlights something that the speaker confidently believes. Poem 501 is written without any stanzas and flows right the way through this may be to highlight the continuous search for answers about death and religion and how this search it futile and everlasting since death can not be discovered. The tone at the beginning of the poem is quite arrogant implied by her confidence. Similarly in poem 280 Dickinson says ' I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,' this suggests that she has been through death and that she is now recalling events from the past, this also hints that Dickinson is mocking puritan values since she may be implying that people try to understand death and she has already understood it, making her self more knowledgeable then  the 'scholars'. The word brain associates to mental stability or state of mind, we may interpret that by using the phrase 'in my Brain' it shows Dickinson losing her sanity and losing her mental stability as she is experiencing this in her mind rather than in reality. The coma used after 'Funeral,'   is quite significant as it breaks the sentence in too two parts highlighting the distance between her actually experiencing death and her thinking that she is experiencing death. Against the tone her is quite arrogant as she seems to be more knowledgeable then the believers and the faithful people, suggesting she is pointing a finger at puritan values.

Join now!

Dickinson clearly mocks puritan values in the line 'To guess, puzzles scholars-' this lines picks on the scholars knowledge and questions his knowledge, this line also suggests that the scholars are naive and in actual they don't know what they are talking about. This shows a slight arrogance on the speakers part as it makes it seem as if the speaker has the knowledge and the scholars don't. It also shows that maybe Dickinson has experienced death since she is so confident. The word 'puzzles' in this poem associates to confusion, which shows that Dickinson is mocking the puritan ...

This is a preview of the whole essay