Rebecca Faust

Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2016

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

First Advisor

Scanlon, Mara

Second Advisor

Richards, Gary

Major or Concentration



Critics have often described poems of the enigmatic Emily Dickinson, the "Myth of Amherst," as being suitable only for children's literature. In addition to having a well-known diminutive appearance, Dickinson exhibits a poetic playfulness, focuses on simple aspects of Nature, and explores faith and childish subjects and concerns which has led to a narrow understanding and even dismissal of her works as being decidedly "unsophisticated." This paper contends that the use of a child's voice or point-of-view is an intentional one in order for Dickinson to reconcile the conflicting ideologies of childhood, especially relating to the tenets of her orderly puritan background being challenged by the ideas offered by the influential Romantic movements. The choice of a child's persona allows Dickinson an avenue to delve into adult subjects of faith, relationships, and even death with an honest innocence that would be frowned upon for an adult.