I left the show with a completely different perspective on Emily Dickinson. Originally, I pictured her as a quiet and standoffish writer. After the show I found Dickinson to be surprisingly relatable and complex. The curation of the objects from her life helped to create a tangible image of her personality. Emily is almost always described as a recluse, leading most to think she was a loner for most of her life. The exhibit’s choice to include a large number of letters Emily wrote to her friends shows the complexity of her character. The letters prove she actually interacted with others on a regular basis in the earlier parts of her life. This is the point, which I found very relatable. A person can certainly be sociable but can also choose to keep to themselves at times. Emily was not a weird or estranged person. She was a person that challenged social norms without regard for the judgment of others. Emily’s spirit comes off as fundamentally resistant. This can also be seen with the memorabilia from her religious school. The women during Emily’s time were placed into schools that demanded the students to profess their devotion to God. Unlike most of her peers, Emily did not profess anything to God because she was not fully certain about the idea of God. I am sure there were others who might have felt similar doubts but Emily was rebellious enough to stick to her beliefs. This action in turn casted her as a “No Hoper” which signified she was a lost case. The curation of this show painted Emily as a rebellious woman who knew what she wanted and did not settle. She rebelled
against religion, she rebelled against society, and she even rebelled against the ideas of the publishing industry. This exhibit revealed Emily’s depth and the bravery of her actions, which would also shine through in her poetry.