Emily Dickinson’s View On Marriage

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Emily Dickinson was not fond of the concept of marriage during the mid-nineteenth century and wanted to show the gender roles that defined a husband and wife. The reasons behind this are: how women were treated without a voice, only showing that women were only used for labor and work, and because of this, Emily defined marriage as a risk taking concept for woman. For this paper, four poems that Emily has written to bring about the system of marriage gender roles and how they differ from defining identity will be investigated.

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Two poems: I’m ceded-I’ve stopped being theirs (poem 508) and I’m wife-I’ve finished that (poem 199) are used to describe the concept of women and identity. The other two poems: I gave myself to him (poem 580) and Title Divine is mine (poem 1072), denounce marriage, and show the loss of identity that the woman goes through when marrying a man.

The concept of marriage through way of gender roles (Franklin; Seyersted) in the articles and poetry was a theme that Emily takes control, trying to show the gender norms that come with each side. Her poetry and concept in regards to losing identity (Franklin; Smith; Stonum; Yao) in other articles and poetry are discussed in the realm of buying a woman through marriage and comparing the woman to a product. The factor of religion (Franklin; Leiter; Wolff) in the books ranges from marriage to God and comparing the differences that women endure when becoming married to a man.

The articles focus on Emily’s poetry that was used to describe the society of women’s roles in marriage and in the home where they begin to lose their identity. Men take control of society’s norms from the women: women did not have any sort of main status in the era, women did not have control over any payments, social and political involvement, and the rest of the women simply lived in the house (Seyersted 1986). Seyersted also tells that the poetry that is used to define women’s roles is much more diverse when it comes to Dickinson. Without a status that shows that women were just as important as men, they were non-human and moreso objects that can be purchased rather than loved as human beings. Her poem: I’m wife-I’ve finished that (Franklin 2005) tells of the different aspects of freedom upon being either a single woman or a married woman and how the aspect of losing your identity was shown from many counts of unhappy marriages in the mid- nineteenth century. This article and poem present comparisons upon which identity and freedom are lost from the view of the woman getting married.

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