Emily Dickinson was raised in a traditional New England home in the mid 1800's. Her father along with the rest of the family had become Christians and she alone decided to rebel against that and reject the Church. She like many of her contemporaries had rejected the traditional views in life and adopted the new transcendental outlook.
Massachusetts, the state where Emily was born and raised in, before the transcendental period was the epicenter of religious practice. Founded by the puritans, the feeling of the avenging had never left the people. After all of the "Great Awakenings" and religious revivals the people of New England began to question the old ways. What used to be the focal point of all lives was now under speculation and often doubted. People began to search for new meanings in life. People like Emerson and Thoreau believed that answers lie in the individual. Emerson set the tone for the era when he said, "Whoso would be a [hu]man, must be a non-conformist." Emily Dickinson believed and practiced this philosophy. .
When she was young she was brought up by a stern and austere father. In her childhood she was shy and already different from the others. Like all the Dickinson children, male or female, Emily was sent for formal education in Amherst Academy. After attending Amherst Academy with conscientious thinkers such as Helen Hunt Jackson, and after reading many of Emerson's essays, she began to develop into a free willed person. Many of her friends had converted to Christianity, her family was also putting enormous amount of pressure for her to convert. No longer the submissive youngster she would not bend her will on such issues as religion, literature and personal associations. .
She maintained a correspondence with Rev. Charles Wadsworth over a substantial period of time. Even though she rejected the Church as a entity she never did reject or accept God. Wadsworth appealed to her because he had an incredibly powerful mind and deep emotions.