Major themes of Emily Dickinsons poetry

Question: Discuss the major themes of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. Major themes of Emily Dickinsons poetry.


The theme is the fundamental fact for any literary work. It can be considered to be the backbone of success. Emily Dickinson has a versatile creative genius to handle different kinds of themes in her poetry. Here her theme management is described with points and illustrations.


Dickinson has written poems based on nature and the natural world. To get heavenly pleasure, she respects nature as a phenomenon. In her poems, nature reveals the mystic of god, immortality, and death. In her celebrated poem, I Taste a Liquor never Brewed” she recounts the natural beauty. Again, in this poem, she exposes the hidden reality of immortality. The poet is enjoying the summer season. To enjoy the beauty of summer, she drinks a liquid that tastes like wine and more taste than alcohol that is made beside the river Rhine. It provides pleasure to the poet and intoxicates the poet more than wine.

“Inebriate of air – am I –

And Debauchee of Dew –“

She is drunk with the wind. From a mystic point of view, she presents the sun as a lamp post. To get close contact with God, she depicts the mysticism of nature.

Dickinson in her love poems presents nature. In “Wild Nights Wild Nights”, she talks about the sea. “Because I could not stop for death” is especially based on immortality and death. She can see the playing children, green fields, and sunset which represents childhood, youth, and old age. The representation of nature exposes the romanticism of Dickinson but she never forgets to exercise mysticism.


Dickinson converses about love but she does not give priority to sensational love. To connect with God, spiritual love is needed. Basically, Dickinson talks about spiritual love but in her poem “Wild Nights Wild Nights”, she sometimes talks about sensational love.

Rowing in Eden –

Ah – the Sea!

Might I but moor – tonight –

In thee!

Here in this poem, the poet refers to “thee”. According to the critics, “thee” means beloved person here, the person who may be black and white, tall or short does not matter. To Dickinson, it is the luxurious fact to pass a night with a loveable person. To remain close to the desired person is comparable to rowing in the sea of heaven. Though in this poem, the poet talks about sensational love but mysticism is again revealed. She remembers Eve and Adam or biblical characters.

Immortality and Death

The striking feature of Dickinson’s poetry is the themes of immortality and death. In her poem “I felt funeral in my brain”, immortality and death are expressed. Here in this poem, a funeral is used for mourning and mourning comes from death. The poet here reveals the psychological death of the human mind. She speculates death in her 500 early poems. The spiritual development of the mind, sufferings, and pain are revealed throughout the poems. Another prolific poem is “Because I could not stop for death” where death and immortality are reflected and the poet declares that through only death we can gain immortality.

Because I could not stop for Death –

He kindly stopped for me –

The Carriage held but just Ourselves –

And Immortality.

So, death and immortality are the two fascinating themes of Dickinson’s poetry.

Pains and Sufferings

To identify the theme, we need to reflect on the biography of Dickinson. After the premature death of her father, she became alone and isolated from her family and engaged in an illicit love affair with her father’s friend. She believes that love, pain, sufferings, society, and family are important for the growth of the human mind. Because of her father’s death, she became broken-hearted. In “I felt funeral in my brain” reveals death but from a deeper level, it reveals pain and suffering. The violation of humanity, mental anguish, and pains is found from profound analysis.

Poetic Diction

For writing poetry, a poet has to be an artist first. Poetic art makes a poet different and superior to others.  It is one of the themes of Dickinson’s poetry.


To conclude, we must say that Dickinson represents sundry themes to satisfy his mysticism. She is absolutely unique and unforgettable because of her spiritual quest to meet God through the themes of her poems.

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SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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