Tension Felt in Emily Dickinsons Poems

’Dickinson’s Poetry explores the tension between wanting to belong yet wanting to remain true to oneself’
Everyone wants to feel they belong somewhere, but often the issue is how much one is willing to change themselves and their views on the world in order to feel accepted. Tension can be described as mental or emotional strain, and often, many people experience this as they are torn between shifting their sense of identity or sticking firm to their beliefs, all in order to escape the alienation and rejection of not belonging.   Emily Dickinson explores the stress between wanting to belong and staying firm in your beliefs which she conveys through her poetry, especially in poem 82, ‘I had been hungry all these years’ and poem 67 ‘I died for beauty. Poem 82 explores the personas desire to belong yet urge to remain confortable within herself whilst poem 67 looks at the consequence the persona endures after she values her identity above her desire to feel she belongs. Another text called ‘Took the Children away’ by Archie Roach explores the tension in the loss of identity felt by the Aboriginal people of Australia through their assimilation to belong to the white way of life.   Through these texts, Dickinson clearly shows the notion of wanting to belong yet the pressure to preserve ones character.

Poem 82 ‘I had been hungry all these years’ focuses on the central theme of the poem which is the persona’s yearning to belong to something. This is shown through Dickinson’s use of the extended metaphor of hunger. This is further shown through the poets continual use of words associated with food throughout the poem E.G tables, crumb and bread. Perfect Rhyme is used in the first stanza with dine and wine, both words again associated with the persona’s hunger. The concept of ‘noon’ in Dickinson’s poetry can be profound and complex, but in this case it is an opportunity ‘My noon has come to dine’.   The persona has a chance at what she thought she wanted, which was to...