Death and Immortality—An Everlasting Puzzle: A Comparative Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s Two Poems

  •  Qigang Liu    


Emily Dickinson as a religious poet was obsessed with the subject of death and immortality; about third of her poems feature this enigma which baffles not only the ordinary multitudes but also those great thinking minds throughout the human history. But up to now, it remains by and large a matter of belief, and people’s belief is subject to vacillation, especially so when this elusive subject is concerned. Emily Dickinson is no exception. This article makes use of close reading as its analyzing method. By way of detailed examinations on the semantic ambiguity and uncertainty of particular words, the narrative incoherence revealed in the unusual change of tenses as well as the inconsistency in the image of Death, it reveals that Dickinson, like many other great thinking minds, held an ambivalent attitude towards death and immortality. As a matter of fact, what can be deduced from all her poems on this enigma is an obsessed spirit which was questioning, doubting while at the same time believing.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

Journal Metrics

h-index (July 2022): 26

i10-index (July 2022): 61

Learn more