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Emily Dickenson

             To me, all Emily Dickinson's religious poems seem unorthodox and surprising. She uses some religious words interchangeably, like God, immortality, and heaven as if they all have the same meaning to her, yet she can never seem to decide what it is exactly that she believes in. It seems the majority of her poetry has religious allusions in them, some faithful and some agnostic. Nicholas Tredell writes, "Both her more than one thousand surviving letters and her 1,775 poems contain wildly disparate views of deity; hers was that religion that doubts as fervently as it believes." .
             Emily never found religion, other than whatever beliefs she held dear in her heart. This doubt and inner turmoil about what to believe followed her until the day she died and is the reason that the wording of so many of her poems portray conflicting views on religion. Emily wrote her poetry from her heart and when her heart was not sure of the correct path, her poetry came across as confused and frustrated about religion as she felt. Lucky Gupta phrases it this way, "One of the most recurring themes in Emily Dickinson's poetry is the religious theme treated by her in an unusual way. Religion appealed to her as one of the deepest and most serious aspect of human life. Indeed it might be argued that the larger part of her poetry was distinctly religious. The religious terms such as God, eternity, immortality, heaven, infinity and the absolute are at times used by her almost interchangeably. Her quest for God was identical with her battle for personal integrity. Her vision of the Divine had to be her own." So, as Emily Dickinson had to go her own road and express in her own way her ideas of poetry, so too did she have to go her own road and express in her own way her ideas of religion, changing and various as they were.
             When examining Emily Dickinson's often strange use of religious wording in her poetry, one can't help but wonder what Emily Dickinson's beliefs really were.

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