Will There Really Be An “Eternity”?
American Romantic poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) is best known for her concise and witty romantic and spiritually-centered poems. “Will there be an Eternity” explores Dickinson through the lens of ecocriticism, an earth-centered critical approach which studies the relationships between literature and the environment, with an eye towards her personal spiritual journey. Dickinson, who is known to have been more spiritual than religious, oscillates in her poems between believing in a heavenly life after death vs. relying on the here-and-now of the natural world for a heavenly experience. Examining “Four Trees—Upon a solitary Acre,” “I taste a liquor never brewed,” “Some keep the Sabbath going to Church,” and “Will there really be a ‘Morning,’” I argue that Dickinson’s dependence on the natural world stems from an overwhelming uncertainty regarding her religious beliefs, particularly those of a possible afterlife.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Todd Giles