S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute of Humanities (인문학연구원) Journal of humanities (인문논총) Journal of Humanities vol.14 (1985) (인문논총)
Emily Dickinson의 <고통>의 시에 나타난 삶의 이중성
The Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Dual Vision of Life
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 인문과학연구소
- 인문논총, Vol.14, pp. 51-68
- One distinctive feature of Emily Dickinson's poetry is the ambiguity both of meaning and syntax, and this ambiguity seems to be closely related to her concern with the duality of human experience and her ambivalent feeling toward the mystery of life. She is constantly obsessed with the problems of good and evil, of pleasure and pain, of belief and doubt, and of life and death. The purpose of this essay is to examine how Dickinson's dual visions are worked out in her poems about pain or suffering, which is one of her major themes. She is singularly sensitive to pain and has an extraordinary ability to probe into the nature of grief. She tries to analyze and even intellectualize the nature of suffering with her perfect description of the supreme moment of anguish. Sometimes she wishes to stand outside the anguish and by a kind of ironic indifference to deepen the inherent compassion. It is quite natural that such wish come from her deep concern with the duality of human experience. Many of her poems about pain reveal her insight into the dual meaning of suffering. They deal with the consciousness moving between pain and pleasure, between torment and grace, suggesting that one must go through pain thoroughly before he can experience the "hallowing" of pain; that only those who reach the "summit" of suffering are able to comprehend the sacred wisdom of pain; that in such state grace can be distilled from torment. Dickinson was aware that "Life was 'Half a transport-half a trouble'-contrary states which had somehow to be reconciled or accommodated." What she emphasizes in many of her poems is the law of compensation working between these contrary states, and it is her awareness of the duality of experience which underlies her emphasis on this law. To Dickinson pain has a great value, although it is sometimes merciless and unrelenting. For it provides her with a touchstone for estimating the depth of the human soul and enables her to gain an insight into the mystic duality of human experience.