Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Katharine Rodier

Second Advisor

Mary Moore

Third Advisor

Christopher Green


Emily Dickinson’s physical isolation and her disinterest in publishing have led scholars to conclude that Dickinson had no interest in the outside world. Although Dickinson’s poems do contain war imagery, scholars have argued that these images are used by Dickinson to deal with her own inner struggles and are not directly related to the Civil War. However, Karen Dandurand’s discovery of poems published by Dickinson in a Civil War fund-raising magazine compels us to reconsider Dickinson’s supposed disinterest. It is evident by Dickinson’s letters and her poems that the war energizes and inspires her by providing questions about life, death, and the responsibility of God. The Civil War was not some abstract idea nor was it merely a metaphor to be used to express her inner demons. The Civil War affected Dickinson in a profound way; therefore, she used her poetry to explore the horrific effects of war.


Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 - Criticism and interpretation.

Civil War in literature.