My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close Essay

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David Kelly teaches literature and creative writing at several community colleges in Illinois. In the following essay, Kelly argues that it is usually unfair to invade an author's privacy by using her life to interpret her poetry, but that it might be acceptable or even necessary in the case of Emily Dickinson.

In the poem "My Life Closed Twice before Its Close," Emily Dickinson raises the particularly daring question of whether anything that happens after death will, or could, outdo the startling events of her life, in terms of hugeness and inconceivability. In a way, she is playing the role of the humble, timid questioner, adopting the passive pose of one who is just wondering about things, not speculating about what will happen but curious about what might. However, as in all of Dickinson's poetry, this demure casing serves to cushion a steely temperament. The allure of her...

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This section contains 1,636 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.