Perspectives on Freedom in Poetry by Emily Dickinson and Harriet Jabos
In Dickinson’s poem #435, “Much Madness is divinest Sense –“, she points out that “Sense” is defined by the majority and not by reason: “’Tis the Majority/ In this, as All, prevail”. So, “Assent[ing]” with the majority, means that you are sane to the public eye. However, if you oppose the majority, or even hesitate a bit you are judged as insane and dangerous: “Demur – you’re straightway dangerous”. Dickinson also points out that if one does not agree with the Majority, they will lose their freedom: “And handled with a Chain –“. This poem is a defense of her isolation from society and her commitment to writing poems. Since Dickinson chose a different path, the community labeled her as insane and dangerous. In her view, she did not lose her freedom; instead she freed herself from the chains of social expectations. Dickinson believes that her way of living is the “divinest Sense” because her poems are a form of claiming her individual liberty; her nonconformity in thought is her freedom. Her declaration to live the way she wants to no matter what proves that she is spiritually free and found her true self as a passionate poet.
In Dickinson’s poem #732, “She rose to His Requirement – dropt”, she examines the traditional successful marriage of