The Role Of Belonging In Dickinson's Poetry And Jules' Music

651 words - 3 pages

Belonging’s instinctive qualities are explored in the poetry of Emily Dickinson, which also highlights the reasons for pursuing belonging, including the need for emotional sustenance and self validation. On the other hand, the song “Mad World” by Gary Jules, communicates the daunting prospect of losing one’s individual identity as a consequence of belonging to a conformist society.

Emily Dickinson’s poetry confirms belonging is a yearning, which most humans seek to satisfy simply because we are social beings. The statement “What mystery pervades a well!” from the poem of the same name, expresses the yearning for belonging by implying an empathic question and a longing for the “water”, which is a symbol for the epitome of life. Since the “water lives so far” Dickinson reveals that the search for belonging involves endless attempts to understand nature and life itself. Dickinson’s reference to the personified grass, which “does not appear afraid” in the presence of nature, is an attempt to grapple with the idea of a metaphysical relationship with nature. This relationship simply evokes “awe” within Dickinson who desires to understand how the grass can “look so bold” unto a world that we as humans are incapable of understanding.

The sheer complexity of the emotional aspects involved with belonging may be seen in the belonging estrangement paradox; highlighted by the fact “that those who know her know her less” and that those who attempt to understand belonging and nature are incapable of understanding nature’s “ghost” and hidden secrets. Dickinson seems to be looking into a “lid of glass”, the surface of the water, or what we perceive as life, and personifies the surface by calling it an “abyss’s face” highlighting life’s immeasurable depth, whilst also implying through the connotations of “glass” being similar to a mirror that we ourselves may never be able to understand our purpose and place in this life. In an attempt to understand nature Dickinson uses personification, describing...

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