Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




Paul Crumbley


This thesis highlights the fact that the way Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost understood nature informed their work as writers. The underlying theme through each chapter is how epistemology about the natural world is created. It compares two seemingly opposed approaches to knowledge construction about nature, answering the question: Is knowledge and value about nature socially constructed or inherently existent and discovered. The second chapter emphasizes that Dickinson considered knowledge based in nature to be socially constructed, making the subjugation of the nineteenth-century woman one of her central subjects. The third chapter shows how Frost agreed with social constructivism in that knowledge is the product of imaginative involvement; he used a constructive stance to emphasize humanity's important role in compelling nature to reveal spiritual truths, which made the reciprocal relationship between people and their environments central to his work. The concluding chapter synthesizes these two approaches and suggests that both are necessary in our modern day understanding of nature.


This work made publicly available electronically on July 30, 2012.