American literature | Critical Essay by Elizabeth A. Petrino

This literature criticism consists of approximately 31 pages of analysis & critique of American literature.
This section contains 9,164 words
(approx. 31 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by Elizabeth A. Petrino

SOURCE: “‘Feet so precious charged’: Dickinson, Sigourney, and the Child Elegy,” in Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Vol. 13, No. 2, Fall, 1994, pp. 317-38.

In the following essay, Petrino compares the treatment of children's deaths in the poems of Dickinson and Lydia Sigourney, finding Dickinson more likely to question “the validity of consoling fictions.”

Pass to thy Rendezvous of Light, Pangless except for us— Who slowly ford the Mystery Which thou hast leaped across! 

Emily Dickinson1

Like many popular nineteenth-century elegists, Dickinson in her letters idealized children as pious exemplars, yet she was uncertain whether their early deaths offered proof of an afterlife. Like her contemporaries, Dickinson extols the dying child as a spiritual guardian, an infant-prophet whose closeness to death makes him peculiarly able to preach to adults...

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This section contains 9,164 words
(approx. 31 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Elizabeth A. Petrino
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