Of all the female writers of our time, Emily Dickinson has proved to be one of the greatest, most influential and definitely the most interesting of them all. Dickinson danced to the beat of her own drum, did whatever she liked and wrote however she wanted. I believe it was her unique spirit and disregard of many basic rules of the English language that made her work so great. Her poems are very simple, straightforward and unique; characteristics that would never have survived had she followed the advice of Mr. Higginson and many others. I have found that many people view Dickinson as an writer whom you either love or hate and while enjoy her work , my boyfriend who is also in this class, does not like her at all. I cannot imagine why, except for the fact that he detests reading American literature but I have always enjoyed many of her poems; though I have found a few that I have come to like upon reading them for this particular assignment. One of the few that I read for this assignment that really appealed to me was poem number 520; its the one about her trip to the ocean with her dog. I found this poem to be very descriptive and it had a certain amount of childish imagination that intrigued me. She wrote it as if the sea were a house; the depths of the waters were the basement and the surface was the upper floors. In addition to equating the ocean to a house, she personified the ocean's water and made it as if it were following her up the great sandy beach. I think this poem was absolutely beautiful and it will remain one of my new favorites alongside the poems numbered 712, 976, 986,1078, 67, and 401 in the text.
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Until this assignment, I confess I have never heard of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and my first thought was " wow what a name." Upon reading her short biography i realized that Wilkins was her maiden name, but i am still puzzled as to why she kept both her maiden name in addition to her husbands name. Freeman wrote many short stories but the one we were assigned to read was called "The New England Nun." I can definitely see the children's author that she once was in this particular short story. She is very descriptive about everything and effectively draws a picture of a quaint little woman with her quaint little existence. Despite the title, which had me a little turned off, I actually enjoyed this cute little story. It calls to mind the simple existence that I once wished for when I was a child and often still wish for. I can relate to Louisa in many ways; I understand her need to have everything done in a specific way and her need to be on her own because that is the same way I feel almost everyday. In a way I think this is the way most women feel sometimes; they work hard to clean and make things perfect but it is destroyed the moment that their other half walks in the door. Overall I think this is a great little story and I am very happy that it ened the way that it did. I would not have wanted the story to end any other way because everyone would have ended up unhappy. Louisa would hate having Joe around and Joe would still be in love with Lily and Lily would probably die of a broken heart or something; it is so much better that it ended the way Mrs. Freeman wrote it. If only life was that simple.
Sarah Orne Jewett
Once again I am going to confess to you that before this assignment I had never heard of Sarah Orne Jewett and I'm not entirely sure what to think or say about this story. First of all I would like to say that I think the name, Mistress Moolly is so awesomely cute for a cow and that if I ever own a cow of my own I will probably call her that. Secondly, I can say that I can definitely relate to how Sylvia feels about the country in contrast to the city; I love the forest and the only city I have ever liked is Seattle, WA so understand her sentiments. If I could spend the afternoon strolling through the woods I definitely would because it is so soothing and peaceful to be amongst trees. In fact, I cannot imagine living in a place where I could not see at least one tree; I feel smothered and alone in the world without trees. I thought that Sylvia's choice in the end was very noble and very smart because men come and go but there are only so many things in the world that touch your heart and soul like the white heron. Besides, Sylvia was nine years old, what does she need to be worrying about men and how they make her feel? She is too young to be thinking about those things. However, I do agree with her decision, men are just trouble and pretty birds are much better. Overall, I think that this story was sort of cute and sweet but I don't think it is one that I would have chosen to read on my own. Jewett's style of writing is very descriptive and colorful and I think I may read something else she has written just to experience her style again.